What critics are getting wrong about the Iran deal
November 24th, 2013
10:16 AM ET

What critics are getting wrong about the Iran deal

By Fareed Zakaria

If you’re trying to decide what to think about the deal struck between the major powers and Iran in Geneva, here’s a suggestion – imagine what would have happened if there had been no deal.

In fact, one doesn’t have to use much imagination. In 2003, Iran approached the United States with an offer to talk about its nuclear program. The George W. Bush administration rejected the offer because it believed that the Iranian regime was weak, had been battered by sanctions, and would either capitulate or collapse if Washington just stayed tough.

So there was no deal. What was the result? Iran had 164 centrifuges operating in 2003; today it has 19,000 centrifuges. Had the Geneva talks with Iran broken down, Iran would have continued expanding its nuclear program. Yes they are now under tough sanctions, but they were under sanctions then as well.

More from CNN: 20 questions about the deal

And yet, the number of centrifuges grew exponentially (Despite all the sanctions and sabotage, keep in mind, the costs of a nuclear program are small for an oil rich country like Iran.)

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has been opposed to a deal. But is it in Israel’s interest that Iran’s program keep growing in size and scope? That’s a strategy that assumes that either Iran is heading for collapse, or that a military strike will take place that would permanently destroy Iran’s entire nuclear program. This seems more like wishful thinking than tough strategizing.

The agreement that the major powers have gotten in Geneva essentially freezes Iran’s program for six months – and rolls back some key aspects of it – while a permanent deal is negotiated. In return, Iran gets about $7 billion of sanctions relief, a fraction of what is in place against it. The main sanctions – against its oil and banking sectors – stay fully in place.

More from GPS: What would JFK have done about Iran?

This is a sensible deal – signed off on by France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China – but it is just an interim deal and not a historic rapprochement. And that’s why so much of the opposition to it is misplaced.

Washington has many points of disagreement with Tehran, from its opposition to Israel and its support of Hezbollah to its funding of Iraq militias. This is not like the opening to China – it’s more like an arms control deal with the Soviet Union, with two wary adversaries trying to find some common ground.

Many countries in the Middle East – from Israel to Saudi Arabia – have legitimate concerns about Iran. But many of these countries have also gotten used to having a permanent enemy against whom they could rail, focusing domestic attention, driving ideological and sectarian divides, and garnering support.

The Middle East is undergoing so much change. Perhaps this is one more change.  And perhaps Iran will come in from the Cold. For now, this deal is just one step, not a seismic shift. But it is still a step forward.

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Topics: Iran

soundoff (433 Responses)
  1. Joshua Oakley

    Reblogged this on Joshua Oakley – Peace Beauty Light Love Health Balance Transcendence and commented:
    The naysayers are going to say their nays no matter what ...

    November 24, 2013 at 10:32 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Despite the benevolence the negotiating parties have shown, it's still a long way to build mutual trust and forge closer ties. Bibi Netanyahu should give this interim deal a chance. The $6 billion Iran gets are just peanuts. They need to prove their sincerity, if they want more sanctions lifted. Unfortunately Bibi is determined to get what he wants and he has powerful friends on the Capitol Hill. Nevertheless let's still hope the follow-up will lead to a sustainable agreement.

      November 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  2. Katie

    So when exactly do we start inspecting Israel's N facilities?

    November 24, 2013 at 10:34 am | Reply
    • Normal in NH

      Right after Israel threaten to wipe it's first country off the face of the map. Why so anti-Semitic?

      November 24, 2013 at 11:16 am | Reply
      • Joe

        Since when is it anti-Semitic to expect the same behavior from one country as we expect from another ? It's not,...it's common sense.

        November 24, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • Shawn Irwin

        Since when is it anti-Semitic to expect the same behavior from one country as we expect from another? Answer the question Abnormal in NH!

        November 24, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • BJohnson

        I believe he/she DID answer it....they are not held to the same international standard because one of them (guess which one) has consistently said it does not recognize the other and will do everything in its means to eliminate the other from the world. But you knew that already....

        November 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • cristian

        normal???? is it normal to label anyone not agreeing with you as an antisemite?
        would you call me an antisemite for not letting you use my toothbrush?

        November 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • palichampion

        Only a misinformed (By Zionist MSM) person would still think Ahmadinijad threatened Israel. What he said was "This too shall pass. (Israel's Zionist plan).

        Israel, in fact, was the state that threatened the word with nukes when Golda Meir told Alan Hart that if Israel was threatened with destruction it would take the world down with it.

        http://www.thehypertexts.com/Nakba%20Holocaust%20Palestinians%20Samson%20Option.htm

        November 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • ✠RZ✠

        Do Israeli nukes need to be Kosher?

        November 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
      • jim

        Why is it always the case that any comments expressing less than full and blind support of Israel are "antisemitic?" I'm as sick of this "Antisemitic Card" as I am the "Race Card." Friends can, and should disagree and provide each other with constructive criticism.....except in the case of of Israel. Think about it. It's totally ludicrous and biased and detrimental to the well being of all Americans. Never the less, I too will be viewed has a "closet antisemite."

        November 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
      • SheriffOfHuddersfield

        The never made that threat. Stop spreading lies.

        November 24, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Ann

        Why any comment or criticism towards Israel is anti-semitic? We have to bite our tongues so not to be perceived as
        anti-semitic. Israel has to be handled with kid gloves and yet they say or do anything they desire and no one says a boo, because that would mean being anti-semitic. Their nuclear facilities should be inspected. Why are they not held to the same rules and regulations?

        November 25, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • John Geheran

      I don't recall Israel ever threatening its neighbors with destruction.

      November 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Reply
      • Russell

        You think that gives them the right to carry nuclear weapons? Then all of middle east who doesn't threat verbally should carry nuclear weapons too.

        November 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • John Geheran

        Russell......when surrounded by over 300M hostile neighbors whose religious sacred texts, ahadith and contemporary clerics advocate the elimination of all Jews from the Middle East, one can forgive Israelis for being paranoid to the point of having a few great equalizers just in case.

        November 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • jim

      Katie, It is amazing how this is never mentioned.....possibly because anything viewed as not supportive of Israel is immediately condemned as "antisemitic." I truly believe that much of the turmoil and terror relates to a very biased US Foreign Policy in the Middle East. Israel is our friend and ally, but this doesn't make them beyond reproach. Our politicians are fearful of expressing even constructive criticism of our friend.

      November 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Reply
      • Ann

        Jim, you hit the nail on the head, "our politicians are fearful of expressing even constructive criticism of our friend"
        People in this country with any type of public voice, especially politicians, understand that if they criticize Israel their career is basically finished. It has happened before and will happen at any time.
        Friend? I think not.

        November 25, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  3. J.W. Weitzell

    Could you please discuss the fact (or the myth, if myth it be) that Islam does not consider it to be
    a sin or a wrong doing for a Muslim to lie to an infidel.

    November 24, 2013 at 10:39 am | Reply
    • pharsalus

      We'll have none of your discussion about legitimate cultural differences. Here we will respect cultural differences, while knowing nothing about them and assuming they don't exist and acting as everyone across the globe has the same culture of moral relativism that we possess.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
      • J.W. Weitzell

        Duck and Cover

        November 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • jim

        Well said, but I fear your words are wasted on many people.....

        November 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Ahmed

      actually, there the Quran says the opposite of what you are claiming "Islam sez". That is it calls for being honest in one's dealings. but dont feel too bad – there are indivdualis like you in Pakistan at least (and I am sure in other muslim countries too) who say the same thing you are saying EXCEPT they say it in reverse.

      November 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  4. Tom

    Maybe now we can get Israel to close their concentration camp at Gaza and move their settlements off of Palestinian land. At a certain point we need to really examine whose interests are being forwarded by these "intractable" conflicts.

    November 24, 2013 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • ed19

      Tom
      read the NY Times this week. It is actually Egypt that is closing the border between, so the residents of Gaza
      can't leave

      November 24, 2013 at 11:51 am | Reply
    • Sifter

      Really Tom? Concentration camp? are there smokestacks burning 6000 humans a day like in Auschwitz? are there mass shootings everyday with people lined up against the 'wall of Death' like Belzec and Sobibar and Treblinka? Did Israelis shoot over 33,000 Arabs IN ONE DAY the way the Germans shot 33,000 Jews IN ONE DAY in the "German Harvest Festival"? Look it up. Wikipedia, NY Times, Life Magazine. And stop insulting the memory of those murdered with your crass, inane comparisons.

      November 26, 2013 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  5. Peter Rickards

    So Iran keeps it centrifuges that they increased during the sanctions, keeps funding Hezbollah, and we take the sanctions off the Iranians who were angry and getting fed up with their Mullah-rulers. If the point of politics was posturing instead of results, then as Billy Crystal's SNL character used to say "We look MARHHVOLOUS!!!"

    November 24, 2013 at 11:01 am | Reply
  6. Dan Bowen

    No lost opportunity to blame Bush I see there Fareed...way to let your true colors through. The fact is we will not know if this is a 'good' deal or not until Iran does or doesn't follow through...until then it is important to remain concerned. Having worked in the intelligence community for 15 years, 'in God we trust, all others we monitor' is an important moniker for this deal and I'd not run any victory laps until we see results.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:01 am | Reply
    • mike jones

      Agree with the wait and see bit. However, I don't think Fareed was blaming Bush for anything. President Bush made what was a reasonable choice at that time. I don't think anybody expected the result. Also, the military solution proposed by the Saudis and Israelis would also have similiar results in terms of increasing Iranian nuclear efforts/capabilites. These are the likely reasons why the U.S. and its partners are attempting a different approach.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • @Anonymous

      The Bush administration were incredibly stupid when it came to Iran.
      Before the invasion of Iraq, the Iranians contacted the US directly and offered to provide as much information, *any* information, on Iraq in order to assist us. The Iranians showed up at secret meetings with maps of Iraqi forces, hidden facilities, bases.. tons of information that was very valuable to us. They stuck their necks out, admittedly because Iraq was their enemy, but still they came to us.
      Bush's response was to list them in the "Axis of Evil" speech :/ The next meeting the Iranians said we had screwed them over (which we had) and their superiors had ordered them home.
      good plan.. I guess Guantanamo was a better path to try and gather that intel?
      Fareed isn't blaming Bush for everything, but it's fair to point out how *not* having any negotiations doesn't achieve any goals either. That's not supposition.. that's history.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:52 am | Reply
      • letssay

        Who ruined the party? Israel??
        Israel has more than 2000 Nukes, they can destroy all ME and Europe.
        IIsraels Nukes program must be montored. NPT

        November 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  7. Andy

    Kate – you don't. Tom – you're a filthy liar – Gaza is a terror state of its peoples' own making. And Fareed – this spin is better than that which keeps moving in Iran's centrifuges. The US just abjectly surrendered to a monster regime, and is being lied to.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Andy,...take your meds,...it's just an interim agreement,...a prelude to more negotiations.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:27 am | Reply
    • Katie

      Dear Andy:

      With all due respect you sound a deeply disturbed individual. Israel feels threatened because it can not continue to expand through land grabbing it has been doing in the territories. Israel can not justify the foreign aid it receives from the US taxpayers if the region is not in constant turmoil.

      November 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm | Reply
      • Ann

        Katie, you couldn't have explained what is actually going on any better than you did. Thank you.
        As long as Israel has an enemy and a threat they have reason to continue with the status quo.

        November 25, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  8. BeverlyNC

    The only critics are the expected ones from the Republican Party. Absolutely no achievement by President Obama is ever good enough or welcomed or praised as it should be. This is about national security for our nation. It is about security for all the nations around Iraq. It is about opening a dialogue with a nation we have not spoken with since they took 60 hostages in 1978 and held them for 444 days. It is about Iran opening up their nation to full unannounced weapon inspections by the UN. They were granted no concessions from us or any other nation. The world is rejoicing but our Republican Party is solely focused on spreading their usual lies and fear-mongering. They wanted war, not peace and sanity.
    Why do we continue to elect these haters of America, these constant criticizers of every step forward we make (despite their constant obstruction for obstruction's sake), these betrayers of We the People, and all for one reason – they want President Obama to fail. Policy differences are one thing. However, Republicans are against everything and stand for nothing. They have dug such a deep hole of hate they cannot see what needs to be done nor do they care.
    They are not leaders. They are not doing their job of service to the People. They only seek to destroy not solve or move forward with any solution for any issue to help the nation. ALL need to be voted out in 2014 so we can finally do the work of the People, offer solutions to benefit the People, and end the ridiculous pattern of 433 filibusters in the Senate, refusing to take a vote in the House, and a record of being the worst Congress in our history in terms of creating and passing any legislation.
    2014 is critical to our nation's future. Break through every obstacle Republicans have thrown up to deny your right to vote and prove to them this nation was created for "We the People" and not corporations or Republicans who will cheat to grab power they have not earned.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • pharsalus

      Somewhere, over the rainbow.... You're glasses can't be this rose-colored. Do you truly believe that a particular party is so virtuous. That is a child's point of view. These people are not your savior.... they are just politicians. Try to cultivate some healthy skepticism. They're not like you; they are not your friend... one side of the aisle or the other.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • Ben

      I remember Jimmy Carter and his spectacular Middle East peace plan...

      Hugs & smiles... So much optimism...

      How did that workout?

      November 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Frozentundra

      You are very wrong. I am quite liberal and I think it's a very bad deal. It doesn't matter how many good foreign policy decisions Obama made (not many in the Middle East), history will remember him for this single mistake.

      November 24, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • billeastland

      Hey, Beverly, so it looks like Chucky Schmucky Schumer has now switched parties and become a dreaded REPUBLICAN!!! He said, “I am disappointed by the terms of the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations because it does not seem proportional.” You like to bash Rs. Are you ready to bash Schumer too?

      November 25, 2013 at 12:18 am | Reply
  9. Normal in NH

    Fareed, I have no doubt you believe this to be a good negotiation. How do you feel about Iran's path to nuclear power/weapon becoming the model for any and all non-nuclear Islamic and non-Islamic countries?

    November 24, 2013 at 11:22 am | Reply
  10. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    The last person anybody should trust on this deal is Mr. Fareed Zakaria.

    He has written a spate of articles supporting Iran on its Nuclear program, while bashing America and Israel for denying them those rights when they themselves possessed nukes.

    He has also gone to MISLEAD Americans on the "acceptability" of a nuclear Iran applying the same yardstick as the US-USSR détente based on the concept of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) which did not apply to Iran in particular and Muslims in general, who value AFTER-LIFE more!

    So, anybody who understands Mr.Zakaria well know that he is a CO VERT Islam ist who is ready to support his co-religionists in any issue, more so against Israel, America (his current homeland), India (his native), or Russia or for that matter ANYOTHER people's/countries faced with Muslim issues......PERIOD!

    November 24, 2013 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • jim

      The US public has been misled for years, because our "leaders" are afraid to be objective with regard to the Middle East. Honest objectivity would have them labeled as "antisemitic," and subsequently raise serious risk to reelection. I do not consider myself to be antisemitic nor racist, but I am majorly over both the "race card" and "antisemitic card."

      November 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm | Reply
  11. Gervais

    well,let's wait How it will be received by Their Supreme Leader and the Revolution Guardian now!!
    thats where the real game will begin between the 2 factions in Iran,
    the one thats wants WAR with the West and the US in particular and the one with the Moderate that see no lights at the end of the tunnel.
    Irian are intelligent and good people,they are connected at the world must more that we think
    it is a question of TIMES between the 2 Iran.
    will see in the next weeks,month how IRAN Population will react

    November 24, 2013 at 11:34 am | Reply
    • Peter Rickards

      Hi Gervais, I agree the Iranian people are much better than their hawkish Mullah-Rullahs, but didn't we just take the sanctions off those citizens, and thus take away the best leverage, ie, citizen disgust with rulers insistence to keep nuke building? Our best hope was citizens demanding more moderation. Where is the pressure now they can keep their centrifuges?

      November 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
      • N

        Peter, being from there, I assure you that people in Iran don't need any pressure from sanctions to be unhappy with the current regime. Especially now that they have blood of Iranian people on their hands after the post-election demonstration and are still holding the leaders of opposition hostage.

        November 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • Peter Rickards

        Hi N, No reply icon for your kind reply, so I add my thoughts here. I understand the opposition in Iran to the Mullah-rulahs is deep, and indeed there are good people in jail. So why are we celebrating a fake deal and hugging the Mullah's negotiators. Why did we not demand dismantling centrifuges and releasing opposition prisoners before we drink champagne and hug the dictators?

        November 24, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  12. pharsalus

    Ah Fareed, you're such a loyal, liberal lackey. When this deal does not work, I trust you will simply admit you were wrong.... right? The children are well and truly in charge. We have a pot-smoking, community organizer in the white house and a whiny hippie as the Secretary of State. The Chinese must laugh themselves to sleep.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
  13. Lives in the MiddleEast

    Israeli Prime Minister is 100% right.
    Iran’s nuclear program problem has only one solution – the regime must collapse. As long as the regime exists the program will advance in all costs. Because nuclear weapon is the only hope of this regime to secure its existence while suppressing the Iranian people and despising the free world. Like the case of North-Korea.
    Military strike may be a solution if it breaks the regime.
    Sanctions may be a solution if they become stricter until it breaks the regime.
    Diplomacy and accords should only come, as a reconstruction phase, after this regime collapses. The trigger to useful diplomacy should be Iran’s regime begging for the UN and US to come and verify that no nuclear weapon or any related technology exists. This is of course not the case yet... On the contrary – Iran’s regime still chatters about his rights and about the extermination of Israel. This regime shames Islam, shames humanity, the Iranian people deserve much more and the free world should help and not negotiate...

    November 24, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • Graeme from Ottawa

      Now who sound like a threat? You do.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:55 am | Reply
      • Lives in the MiddleEast

        Well, the Iranian regime is such a huge danger in the middle-east. It comes to the point where every enlightened power in the world must threaten this regime, or else we are doomed.
        Now this is not a movie it is reality. Remember Taliban regime hosting Been-laden before 9.11? Remember Pakistan regime, holding a nuclear bomb, hiding him after 9.11? I am telling you that the free world is in a big trouble already. If you think Iran is just one more crazy regime we can sustain – you are wrong. They already have terrorists worldwide, just listen to the police forces of Argentina or India or Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan for proofs. They don't even hide their control over Hezbollah terrorist activity – you should listen to Bulgaria and US and Lebanon officials describing the terrorist activity of Hezbollah. And we didn't even mention their deep involvement (with real soldiers on land) in Syria for keeping Assad regime in power while massacring Syrian civilians. And, their interference in Iraq and the killing of Lebanon’s prime-minister Hariri who tried to cooperate with the west.
        The regimes employees are expected to shout “death to America and Israel” as a part of an official ceremony every week (including this week). How can they finance all this activity? It is clear that the current sanctions are not strong enough.
        Believe me, with such a resume they must have nuclear bomb to survive... And while surviving they are very dangerous even without the bomb, now imagine the threat they will soon pose when they get closer to that bomb...

        November 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  14. Atul C

    Iran is just few months away from a nuclear bomb and this is just a tactic to buy time. Once they have nuclear weapon, then Obama/Kerry will have no choices left. Already Pakistan has it and it has made the whole region very unsafe. Once Iran has it, whole gulf region will be unstable. No wonder, Saudis are willing to talk to Israel before they will with Iran.

    We saw in Syria, the government is killing civilians and innocents. They just diverted attention by declaring few of their chemicals and now nobody cares of people who are getting killed and tortured.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
  15. Joseph McCarthy

    Thank you, Fareed. I completely agree. Thank God that George W. Bush had it wrong back in 2003. The greed of that President knows no limits whatsoever! Now we along with the Iranians can move on and together, and maybe achieve peace in the Middle East if we can get the Israelis on board.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply
  16. Ken

    I know Fareed likes kissing up to Obama, but how in the world can he think this is a good deal. As he says in the article "The agreement that the major powers have gotten in Geneva essentially freezes Iran’s program for six months – and rolls back some key aspects of it – while a permanent deal is negotiated. In return, Iran gets about $7 billion of sanctions relief, a fraction of what is in place against it. The main sanctions – against its oil and banking sectors – stay fully in place".

    So first, this isn't a real deal. All it is comes down to a Hey you stop expanding for a bit we give you some sanction relief and we keep talking type deal. It's more of a sham for the wests political leaders to wave around so the uneducated think they have accomplished something, and draw heat away from other negative aspects of their own governments.

    Second, and most importantly, as part of this deal they have acknowledged and agreed that Iran has the right to some nuclear technology. And this is the mistake. As Fareed points out, they have over 19,000 centrifuges enriching uranium right now. This agreement calls for all enrichment to stay at or below the 20% pure state (minimum for weapons grade) but does nothing to stop the enrichment. Iran would be able to quickly take any of that just below weapons grade uranium and start enriching it into weapons grade whenever they like. Within six months of any such decision they would have enough for several low yield weapons. As long as they have items which can enrich uranium to weapons grade they are a threat. But this agreement acknowledges they have the right to such technology (for peaceful use of course). And this is the mistake. As of this agreement, Iran is now a nuclear power. They could if pushed start building bombs within one year of deciding to do so. And Obama and Kerry are all smiles about it. Disgusting.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply
  17. picassolama

    For those of you who label the current situation with Iran as a negative, and those of you who bash Zakaria's commentary, how do you reconcile the deal acceptance by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China? Are these other world leading countries not seeing through Iran's veil of deceit in regards to the negotiations? I understand some will say Russia and China have motives not beneficial to the US or Israel, but Britain, France, and Germany?

    November 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
    • Peter Rickards

      Well Picassolama, they ALL want to start doing business again. They all are political posture poets who love to sell a portrait of progress. They took off the pressure, and HOPE that future negotiations lead to dismantling centrifuges, but salute the centrifuges "right" to make nuclear fuel. Since they do not dismantle ANYTHING with this deal, why take off the sanction pressure?

      November 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply
    • James Schwartzman

      I believe that the three countries are so anxious to have sanctions lifted and get profits that they are willing to to make a bad deal. And I also believe once sanctions are lifted, they will be impossible to put back in place. It seems to me that many who would be quick to yell "no profits; no oil" in opposing the Iraq war are somehow not so concerned that what this deal is about is allowing the nations to go back to the business of making profits.

      November 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  18. Steve

    Not sure I totally agree with this analysis. Iran is down to its last $20 Billion in funds. The continuation of tough sanctions is on the verge of breaking the Iranian regime completely. They wouldn't be coming to the table if they weren't already in dire straights. I simply see it as the West having far more leverage here than the Western negotiators are utilizing. We got 90% of our demands. But why not 95%? Why not demand a complete capitulation from Iran on all enrichment? Why not require complete destruction of the most sophisticated centrifuges? Why not require an absolute commitment not to fund Hezbollah? I'm not saying that we need to be as extreme as the Israelis think we should, but there is a high degree of validity to their argument that this framework looks much like the ineffective appeasement of North Korea in 2005. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past. We should not trust where we have previously been lied to. And yes, we should consider that it may be in the better long-term interest of the world if we were to simply blow up their nuclear facilities.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • Frat

      And maybe you should stop thinking the way " why I should not do whatever I want ?" World is not yours, d*****s.

      November 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • picassolama

      Steve said, "The continuation of tough sanctions is on the verge of breaking the Iranian regime completely. They wouldn't be coming to the table if they weren't already in dire straights." Wasn't this the purpose of the sanctions in the first place...to bring the Iranians to the negotiating table? I don't believe the sanctions were in place to overthrow the regime, as many who comment would prefer. I'm not sure too many people out there are familiar with diplomacy, or the right of a country to exist within it's own system. Many voice their opinion about overthrowing the Iranian government, but isn't the motive to abolish the current government due to the previous president stating he felt Israel should not exist? There is a tinge of hypocrisy here. I understand it's not exactly the same, but in the eyes of Iranians, it is. When given the fact the new president, Hassan Rouhani, stated he does not follow the ramblings of Ahmadinejad...it is logical to begin anew. But I suppose he is just like any other politician in the world...all talk, no truth. How about this for a solution, we take care of our own, protect our own borders, and stay out of the business of others. Isolationist you say? No, Common Sensist I say.

      November 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Reply
  19. saywhat

    This is a first step towards bringing some sanity to a world gone insane. We have seen death,destruction and seemingly unending cycle of violence bring darkness to this world during the past decade, humanity seemed lost in a maze of futile militarism sans any semblance of rationality.
    I congratulate this admn for standing up to a 'do nothing Congress' hell bent on pushing this country towards another disastrous military misadventure and the Israeli organization in our Congress.
    we had become accustomed and conditioned to reward bad and dangerous behavior of the far right mindset in Israel and that has to end.
    This is indeed a first in looking out for interests of America and Americans.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • Ann

      Amen

      November 25, 2013 at 12:39 am | Reply
  20. islandivan

    I'm sorry Fareed you might be an all knowledgeable person but many smart people have grossly mistaken before, after the Obama administration's naivety over Syria and the embarrassment to Putin plus the as yet fully divulged handling and reasons why Americans died in Benghazi I find myself doubting Obama or Kerry. They will settle on a less than good agreement just to get any "positive" press. Apparently by and large you mistakenly endorse. You are not as smart as your employer thinks you are Fareed.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
  21. Big Al

    I pray this is a new beginning and path towards peace. There has been too much death and destruction in the Middle East. May calmer minds prevail!!!

    November 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  22. Yorick

    I'm growing more interest in reading the comments people make on recent news. I've realized I was so mistaken about the common sense of people all around the world, not just in Iran, or there in Israel, US, etc.
    I didn't expect a normal American to understand what is really going on here in Iran, but seeing such hatred, such faith in violence is really disturbing.
    I and every single I know have protested against Islamic Republic government, it wasn't easy but I have no intention of explaining how very dangerous it was because now I think people are way much dumber than I've thought. So you're dealing with a fundamentalist government but not fundamentalist people. You think the government in Iran is a whole, that is not like that. You think people who chant 'death to America' are normal Iranian people? NO, they are not. Most of them get paid to do that, you don't believe me? yes they actually get MONEY for doing that. There are many other things you don't have a single clue about.
    Your problem is not with the governments, because even a fundamentalist government like the Islamic Republic could be controlled i.e. by sanctions. But what are you going to do about the fundamentalism growing everywhere in the world and specially in the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan,...? You cannot do a single thing. The real problem lies in fundamentalist ordinary people who you cannot find in Iran. You turn on the TV and see Iranians putting fire to American flag? They are no ordinary people, those people are part of the government OR paid by the government.
    Go search for your problems in the countries that are the origin of Islamic fundamentalism. A quick hint, its name begins with a 'S'!

    November 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  23. sfg

    Fareed's whole political analysis consists of "perhaps,"
    unless he is plagiarizing someone.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  24. saywhat

    President Obama saved us from getting militarily embroiled in Syria ( which would have been a monstrous folly) against relentless pressure from S.Arabia and Israel. and he did the right thing in the interests of this country to stand up to that pressure again & going the way statesmen should go.
    US suffered badly during this past decade not only in terms of losing precious American lives and national treasure but in damage to its credibility, prestige and clout in a region vital to its geopolitical and economic interests. creating enemies and turning entire populations hostile.
    Proxy wars and giving up our own interests – no more.
    God bless America.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  25. John Geheran

    Before getting too weepy over this "pause", it is worth remembering that the only reason for centrifuges is the production of weapons' grade uranium. That unvarnished reality, coupled with Iran's long standing determination to eliminate Israel should tell us that, despite Iran's agreement for a 6 month pause, it remains committed to its goals. The Bush administration can be forgiven for not wasting its time negotiating with a fanatical regime that, to this day, remains openly committed to the development of nukes.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  26. middle america man

    Steve, were they on the verge, really? We've had Cuba on the verge for almost 50 years.

    November 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  27. Steve In SD

    Wow. The folks commenting on this board truly need some education/training in strategic thinking and strategic negotiation. Some exceptions, of course.
    I did learn some things from your comments, though:
    Facts are bad
    During democrat administrations in the US Iran trampled roughshod on the international community
    During republican administrations in the US Iranians built monuments to Walt Disney
    Any sentence not beginning in, 'Israel is infallible...' is going to get the author thrown to the wolves as 'anti-Semitic.'
    The foreign ministers of the US, Germany, Russia, China, et al are monumentally naive and would better be replaced by someone really knows what they're doing (perhaps most of you commenting on this article should consider offering up your expert services?)
    Finally, I learned that it would be far better to do nothing, awaiting the moment Iran finishes their first nuclear device so the us is fully justified in using military force to bring them to their knees, than it is to negotiate first.

    November 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • ✠RZ✠

      Are you implying that there might be some complicated underlying geopolitical and financial agenda here that everyone is missing? No wonder Dick Cheney was hospitalized, probably busted his gut laughing.

      November 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
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