It looks like moderates are sweeping Tehran’s 30 seats in the Iranian parliament. That’s an indication that the forces that favor the nuclear deal with the West, led by President Rouhani, are going to win a resounding endorsement. But not so fast.
As I discussed a few minutes ago with host P.J. Maloney on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh–it’s only a few years since the government stole an election from reformers and handed a victory to crazy hardliner President Ahmadinejad, setting off riots in the streets.
If the current trend holds, though, it’s a sign that the people and their leaders want to change directions. What we in the West need to understand is that it will take time. Iranians will continue to say disgusting things about the US, Israel and the West, and they will continue to do things we reject, like financing extremists–but we need to look at the trend, and encourage the change toward integration into the world’s economy.
What happens if we don’t? There’s a precedent.
In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians began signing partial peace accords to put an end to their conflict. The idea was to make peace in stages as confidence and trust were built. But practically the day after the agreements were signed, the Palestinians began complaining about perceived Israeli violations of the accords, and Israel did likewise. The trust and confidence never developed, and the process failed–the Palestinians rejected two offers of a viable state. Read about the second one here.
The lesson? Let’s turn down the temperature and the rhetoric, and especially the fear tactics, and give this agreement with Iran a chance to work. The election shows that many Iranians appear to want that. We should, too.