Republicans predictably greeted the Iran nuclear deal with angry howls about how the treaty was “appeasement,” while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal a “mistake of historic proportions” and warned that Iran would continue to seek the destruction of Israel. The opposition to the Iran nuclear deal isn’t a position that was reached after careful reading of the terms of the bargain that was struck; instead, it has been the stance of Republicans (and some Democrats) since before the talks even began.
Now that the historic Iran nuclear deal has been agreed upon, the opponents of the treaty are complaining that it doesn’t go far enough, or that we should have just bombed Iran into rubble. There are four main reasons why they’re so upset about this deal, and none of them should come as a surprise to anyone who pays attention to politics.
4. War: This one is pretty obvious. Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies in Congress would love to go to war with Iran. Even if there weren’t American boots on the ground, they’d be thrilled to reduce Iran’s infrastructure to that of Somalia’s and cause hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties. As a result, we would create a whole new generation of angry Middle Eastern people who hate the United States and we’d create another power vacuum that ISIS or other terrorist groups would be more than happy to exploit. Iran, while not an ally of the United States, is also fighting ISIS and there’s nothing more they would love to see than for the United States and Iran to go to war with each other so they could take over even more territory.
You heard that right, Republicans, the defense industry, Israeli warhawks and ISIS have something in common – they all want America to bomb Iran.
3. Religion: I’ve talked about this before to some extent. Here in the United States, we have a number of religious extremists and the politicians they support who believe that a war with Iran is necessary as part of the sequence of events that would fulfill biblical prophecies and bring about the return of Christ. Not all Republicans believe in this nonsense, but there is a vocal faction of the GOP that does – and they do have an influence in party politics, especially in the Bible Belt. To them, peace is not an option and a holy war in the Middle East is God’s will.
2. President Obama: From the far-right conspiracy nuts who think President Obama is a Satanist planning to relocate 100 million Muslims to the United States to establishment Republicans, there’s a whole lot of Obama Derangement Syndrome going on. Opposing everything President Obama supports isn’t just irrational, kneejerk defiance – it’s also the basis of the Republican Party’s political strategy since the day he was elected.
1. Oil: With the lifting of sanctions, Iran will be able sell a lot of oil that it wasn’t able to before. Now that sanctions are going to be lifted, this will drive down gas prices and put a dent in the U.S. oil market.
Iran hasn’t been able to sell oil to the United States since 1995. Most major Western countries imposed sanctions within the last five years aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Instead it’s been selling to China, India, Turkey and other developing markets.
“[Iran] will only add to the oil glut on the market and increase the selling pressure,” wrote Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade. (Source)
Low gas prices are welcomed by most Americans, but it also means the domestic oil industry will take a hit, and jobs in that sector will likely be lost. This will hit hardest in states like North Dakota, Alaska, Texas and Louisiana where oil is a huge part of the economy. It stands to reason that lawmakers from those areas would oppose anything that could put more oil on the market and drive down production in the states they represent. Of the four reasons mentioned here, this one is less ideological and more about protecting the interests of their constituents, as well as their fossil fuel industry contributors.
The Iran nuclear deal isn’t perfect, but it is a whole lot better than the alternative that Republicans, the defense industry, Israeli warhawks and ISIS would have preferred. That alternative would have ultimately been a disaster, cost far too much in blood and treasure, and made the Middle East an even more violent and unstable place than it already is. After our last two military ventures in the region, you’d think Republicans would have learned by now.
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