'Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount." — Gen. Omar Bradley
However, a remarkable breakthrough occurred a week and a half ago in Geneva. Iran signed a deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. The goal is that Iran gets "its dignity-affirming nuclear (power) program, but with enough restrictions and inspections and limitations that the rest of the world can accept it as peaceful," according to the Washington Post.
It's an agreement that lasts only six months, there is enormous diplomatic work to be accomplished, and hardliners on both sides could derail it, but it clearly is an opening that peace activists inside and outside the US government have worked toward more than two decades.
Iran must "neutralize" its 20-percent enriched uranium. Iran can't make any more uranium enriched above 5 percent, and it can't use any new centrifuges or build new nuclear facilities. This leaves Iran with the ability to run a peaceful energy program — a real concession from the United States and other world powers — but no more. The U.N. nuclear watchdog will make daily inspections at Iranian facilities.
If all goes as planned, Iran gets $4.2 billion in frozen assets back and $1.5 billion reductions in sanctions and no new sanctions for six months.
Phillis Bennis, in an article from the Institute for Policy Studies, points out that there may be a rise in diplomacy to solve world issues: witness the stand down in Syria to permit destruction of chemical weaponry and movement towards US troops leaving Afghanistan.
Republican and Democratic warmongers alike are threatening to undermine the fragile accord by imposing new sanctions. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have mobilized powerful opposition, fearing anything that might result in recognition of Iran as a legitimate regional power. And, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called the agreement "a historic mistake."
Now it is up to all of us who want diplomacy to succeed to write letters to editors, opinion editorials and open letters to congressional representatives, that we've got their backs and to continue this thrilling push for diplomacy not violence.
Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" column runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.