U.S., Iran Explore Option of 10-Year Nuclear Freeze

Daily News Article - February 25, 2015

Questions

1. In negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program this week, what compromise is the U.S. considering?

2. How do critics of the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran view this compromise?

3. Why does the Obama administration say it does not need Congressional approval to make this deal with Iran? What will it need Congress to do?

4. Why is Israel so opposed to the deal the U.S. and others are negotiating with Iran?

5. Sanctions are actions that are taken to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc. In January 2014 it was reported that the sanctions imposed on Iran by the U.S., EU and UN:

have helped to wreck Iran’s economy. In particular, the vital oil industry is on its knees. In June 2013, Iran was still the second-biggest oil producer in Opec after Saudi Arabia, pumping 3 million barrels per day. By this September, its daily production had tumbled by 400,000 barrels to 2.6 million. Given that oil prices exceed $100 per barrel, that fall represents a loss of billions of dollars. So Iran needs to compromise over its nuclear ambitions in order to ease the burden of sanctions. America and its allies, meanwhile, want to contain a nuclear program that advances month by month and would eventually give Iran the option of building the ultimate weapon.

Read the “Background” below.  Then watch the interview with Foreign Policy expert Michael O’Hanlon. Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program was discovered in 2002. The U.S. and others have been negotiating with Iran on and off for 10 years.

Do you think the U.S. should make this agreement with Iran now, or continue or increase sanctions instead as a way to force Iran to completely disband its nuclear program? Explain your answer.

6. In a recent speech, former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani said:

So let’s review the agreement…. Iran wants, it says, the peaceful use of nuclear power. Iran has 300 years of natural gas and oil reserves and they haven’t started fracking or hydraulic drilling yet. They may have 1000 years of reserves…. Iran does not need a nuclear power plant for power. They got plenty of energy, plenty of energy to export to the rest of the world. There is no reason in the world for them to have the peaceful use of nuclear power. Maybe France needs it. Maybe countries without natural resources need it, but Iran doesn’t need it. So why have they been doing this? They’ve been doing this because they want to become a nuclear power. Not only that, they have written that, they have said that, they have described that. The president reformer who runs Iran, Rouhani, in ’03 and ’05 continued to enrich uranium while they had a standstill agreement with us. He did it secretly and bragged about it, and we’re negotiating with them. This is like playing poker with a guy who cheated you twice before. You know who does that? A moron. An agreement with Iran with regard to nuclear power should be very simple. Iran should not be allowed to have any form of nuclear power.

Most of us, maybe not all of us in this room, went through the Cold War. Those of us in the Reagan administration certainly remember it. General Shelton fought it, the Cold War, because it wasn’t always a cold war. And the big fear during the Cold War was that a madman would come along and be able to get his finger on the button in the U.S. or Russia, and all of a sudden we could destroy the world. We saw movies about that, we saw Broadway plays about that, we saw comedies about that, and we read books about that. And we were afraid of that. And it never happened, thank God. These people in Iran, the Ayatollah and the mullahs, have already told us they are insane. They have already described to us in words and deeds the actions of insane people. I didn’t say irrational, I said insane. I believe the Ayatollah is truly insane. He lives in a different world than the real world in which we live, which is probably the best definition of insanity you can have. He’s like the guy walking around Bellevue Hospital thinking he’s George Washington. He’s a madman. He’s announced that he wants to destroy the state of Israel.

And we are upset that Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to come here and defend his country? When someone who is a few hundred miles away [from Israel] wants nuclear weapons and has threatened to destroy his country of six or seven million people? It’s smaller than New York City. …

a) Do you agree with Mayor Guiliani’s assertion that “Iran should not be allowed to have any form of nuclear power”? Explain your answer.

b) Ask a parent and a grandparent the same question.