Negotiations for Iran’s nuclear program resumed a political chess game Tuesday in Vienna, with America, Germany, and other world powers in tow. Ever since talks began in 2013, much to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chagrin, rhetoric from all sides has been decidedly against any nuclear stockpiles. In a senate hearing, Secretary of State John Kerry said that Iran was capable of creating a nuclear bomb in the next two months, if the country decided to do so.
Negotiations are slated to end on Jul. 20, so there is a degree of leg work for world powers. However, that room for compromise and decision-making is marginal and coming to a close sooner than many would like. To complicate matters, the stakes for a successful accord that curbs Iran’s nuclear intentions and other world powers played out as a chess game is substantially high. Israel has denounced the talks as a “historic mistake” on the part of America, and the Israeli government is threatening war against Iran if things go sideways. The latter of the two countries is also threatening war against Israel, saying it is the Middle East’s biggest threat to peace. Also, Kerry has claimed that any nuclear breakout in the country – which he deems a very realistic outcome in the next two months – would incur a robust response from Barack Obama.
There is good reason for powers such as America, Britain, Germany, China, France, and Russia to approach the new developments with extreme concern. The Iranian government does not operate on transparency or honesty. In 2009, three American hikers were kidnapped and held hostage by Iranian officials. Iran claimed that the three hikers, who were hiking along the Iraq Kurdish border, were American spies. Sarah Shourd, who did humanity work in Damascus, Syria earlier in her life, was held for over one year in the Iranian prison and judicial system. Her health – both physical and mental – deteriorated as she spent life in solitary confinement. The other two hikers, Shane Bauer, a photojournalist, and Joshua Fattal, an environmentalist, spent well over two years in psychological turmoil in the prisons.
What followed their initial imprisonment was an outpouring of support for the Americans, from Ashton Kutcher and Barack Obama to U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and Noam Chomsky. Many cited that the Iranians had no tangible proof that the three were in fact spies. However, little is known about the step-by-step specificity of their trials, as the Iranian government was not transparent in dealing with the crisis. Moreover, the country has been infamous for its anti-America rhetoric and propaganda. More to the point: swarms of people chanting “Death to America!”
In February, Iran announced that they would be sending warships to American shores to protest America’s naval occupation of the Persian Gulf. This comes as a major escalation, which coupled with “Death to America!” war-cries, becomes deeply worrisome. All of this, the jailing of Americans, the sea invasions, the threats aimed at Israel (and vice versa), falls into place as a twisted game of chess on a nuclear level with Iran. They claim to have no intention of weaponizing nuclear arsenals. They say their major concern for the world is peace. Yet, the country supports violence all around the world. They wage war, support the Assad regime in Syria whose devastation has proved virulent for the entire world, and shout out death threats to Israel and America. It is no wonder that John Kerry is exhausting every possible rhetoric to display just how precarious and dangerous the negotiations really are. With so much at stake, nobody can afford Iranian ideologies being equipped with nuclear energy.
Opinion by Tyler Collins