Photo: "Negotiations about Iranian Nuclear Program - the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Other Officials of the P5+1 and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Iran and EU in Lausanne" by United States Department of State
The Iran nuclear agreement is a win above all for global diplomacy.
Perhaps the most significant fact of the deal is not up for debate. This will be the first time that a country facing Chapter 7 sanctions of the U.N. Security Council (the strictest sanctions around) has had them lifted through negotiations.
What the accord shows us is the possibility and necessity of diplomacy in the Middle East. For far too long, and especially since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. foreign policy has been premised more on this country’s military might than on internationally coordinated diplomatic initiatives. And as our diplomacy has diminished over the years, militarism has sowed more chaos into an already volatile and complex region.
In other words, the significance of the Iran deal is more than its own accord. What it illustrates is that when multiple countries unite and undertake a concerted and imaginative effort on seemingly intractable issues, real solutions can be found.
We should seize this momentum and be thinking about the next priorities for peaceful resolution in the region.
Most immediately, the global community has abysmally failed in bringing Syria’s bloody civil war to an end. Renewed international efforts on that horrific conflict, now with most likely greater Iranian cooperation, must take place.
We should also aim to create a nuclear weapons-free zone for the entire Middle East and find a just and lasting solution for the Israel/Palestine conflict. Only diplomacy — real diplomacy involving the kind of difficult work exhibited by the Iran deal — has a chance of success in these situations. This will require exerting pressure not only on our foes but also on our friends.
The Iran agreement shows us that peacefully forging a common destiny among nations strengthens America’s place within the world. Diplomacy’s dividend is worth much more than domination through war.
Moustafa Bayoumi, a professor of English at Brooklyn College, is author of “This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror,” forthcoming from NYU Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.