The Daily Gamecock

Trade essential to improve US-Iran relations

Additional Middle Eastern war unwise, unaffordable

For the first time in almost 10 years, Iran has showed up to the international bargaining table, willing to talk about a peaceful resolution to dissolving their nuclear program*1. It seems that our own Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is adamantly opposed to a peaceful conclusion to this longstanding tension.

These disarmament talks revolve around a proposed deal, in which the United States and the rest of the United Nations would lift several of their trade embargos on Iran in return for Iran reforming its nuclear research program and open the program up to international oversight. However, Graham is leading a group of Republicans that seek to tie the hands of our diplomats in their ability to negotiate lifting the sanctions; in fact, the plan they have introduced would make the sanctions even harsher than they already are.

The entire point of imposing the sanctions in the first place was to economically starve Iran to the bargaining table. They appear to have worked in that regard. We want Iran to de-militarize their military program, and Iran wants us to lift the embargos. Now that Iran is finally willing to agree to that trade, Graham wants to tie our hands and prevent us from making it. Without the ability to lift at least some of the embargos, our negotiators will go to the second round of discussion (scheduled later this month) with nothing to trade, dooming those discussions from the start.
To make matters worse, Graham said back in September that he intends to introduce legislation that would authorize military force against Iran if nuclear disarmament talks fall through. While that legislation has yet to be introduced, I suspect we’ll see it on the Senate floor sometime soon. In short, not only is Graham trying to kill our peace talks, he also wants to ensure that we go to war when that discussion doesn’t succeed. He wants so badly to have an excuse to use the proverbial “stick” that he’s doing everything he can to remove the “carrot” as an option.

A peaceful resolution to this situation has major benefits to both the United States and Iran. The most obvious benefit for the US is that Iran no longer pursues nuclear weapons, but it’s important not to overlook the other advantages. Lifting the embargos would allow American businesses to conduct trade with over seventy-four million more people, increasing the exchange of products and ideas.

Even more importantly, peaceful negotiations are just that- peaceful. Senator Graham would have us spend trillions of dollars (that we don’t have) on another Middle Eastern war. He would rip our military servicemen and women, freshly returned from the finally ending war in Afghanistan, from the arms of their loved ones and put them into the line of fire in Iran. If we’re lucky, Graham’s hawkishness “only” leads to the death of hundreds of Americans. If we’re unlucky, Iran becomes Iraq Part 2, leading to another decade long conflict and thousands of completely avoidable American dead.