A photo of President Obama with University of Colorado student, Madalyn Starkey, has gone viral. It was taken at The Sink, a long-appreciated bar near CU, shortly before his speech on Tuesday night to an audience of thousands of cheering students at the Coors Events Center on campus and others determined enough to have secured tickets.
Since I saw the photo, it has been on my mind. Our smiling, ebullient president and Madalyn, wide-eyed, her finger pointing at him in amazement that she would be standing with Barack Obama.
I want deeply for her to be safe and happy and successful in her life.
The president, probably the most powerful person in the world today, doesn’t reveal in his wide smile and sparkling eyes the incredibly complicated and delicate landscape of interconnected problems he has responsibilities toward — and the myriad forces both for and against every move he makes.
One of the most delicate issues in the world today is Iran and its nuclear program. Iranian leaders deny any plans to build nuclear weapons, only uranium enrichment for electricity and nuclear medical research. The U.S., the EU and Israel suspect Iran of more sinister plans — to be able to produce nukes — and have indicated the possibility of attacking Iran to stop them.
However, 10 hours of talks between the P5+1 (the U.S., U.K., France, China, Russia and Germany) and Iranian diplomats may have dramatically improved the possibility of a resolution of the long standoff over Iran’s nuclear program.
These talks took place two weeks ago and will be followed by more on May 23 — unless the U.S. congress attempts to kill diplomacy. U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman and Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu are scathing in their criticism of the talks.
As a result of the talks, negotiators agreed to adopt a framework for ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes, by using the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty framework plus the “additional protocols,” which would ensure even more intrusive inspections and guarantees.
According to the Bloomberg press, Iran is considering a Russian proposal to halt the expansion of its nuclear program to avoid new sanctions on exporting its oil. A major embargo by the EU is scheduled to begin in July. In exchange, Iran would be able to continue its program of uranium enrichment for peaceful purposes.
To protect Madalyn Starkey, and her counterparts throughout Iran and the world, we need diplomacy, not war. If you saw and heard the president on Tuesday night, let him know your thoughts: 202-456-1111.
Judith Mohling is a volunteer with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.