Well senators, having second thoughts about signing that subversive letter to Iran? You should be.
The longtime foe released 10 U.S. sailors Wednesday, less than 24 hours after taking them into custody. The details surrounding how two small U.S. naval boats allegedly drifted into Iranian waters are sketchy at best. But, come Wednesday morning, all American sailors were unharmed and free.
International incident avoided. Ah, the power of diplomacy.
In March, Sens. Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, both of Iowa, and Mark Kirk of Illinois joined 44 other GOP senators and signed Sen. Tom Cotton’s potentially seditious letter to Tehran. The strong rebuke attempted to undermine the sweeping nuclear nonproliferation agreement between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S.
The Republican doomsday hyperbole wafting from both houses of Congress was deafening when the pact was finalized. Then-Speaker John Boehner took the unparalleled step of inviting exaggeration-prone Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the House in an attempt to erode the deal.
But, now, the actual fruits of the increasingly normalized relations are undeniable. It’s especially true when past incidents are tossed into the mix.
In 2007, the Revolutionary Guard arrested 15 British sailors for allegedly straying into Iranian waters. A tense 13-day standoff ensued. Late last year, Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet, which apparently entered its airspace. A shoot-first mentality is always the result of diplomatic breakdown.
This week’s episode was something very different.
“This time, the Americans were cooperative in proving their innocence, and they quickly accepted their faults without resistance,” Hamidreza Taraghi, an Iranian analyst with close ties to the government, told The New York Times. “The sailors apologized for having strayed into Iranian waters.”
Both Secretary of State John Kerry and Tehran stressed the desire to keep tensions low throughout.
No doubt, relationships built throughout the months negotiating the nuclear pact opened lines of communication, pathways to discussion that had been closed for more than 30 years. Surely, Iran’s desire to emerge from under the West’s devastating economic sanctions — part of the nuclear pact — played a role.
But Grassley, Ernst and Kirk were too busy playing partisan politics to give real diplomacy a chance. On Wednesday, their shortsightedness was exposed for the hollow bluster it was.
Repeatedly, Republican critics of the Obama administration-led deal complained about the four Americans incarcerated in notorious Iranian prisons. They blasted the administration for not requiring the prisoners’ release as part of the deal. Again, critics missed the forest through the trees. Continued tensions — and incessant threats of war — don’t do any good for the likes of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. Open dialogue is the key to his freedom.
And that’s exactly what Grassley, Ernst and Kirk threatened when they inked their names to Cotton’s ridiculous letter. They attacked the prospect for peace. They instead shouted loud and clear their preference for eventual war with Iran. They essentially demanded the loss of American lives in a conflict that, because of last year’s accord, might now be avoided. They belittled the innately human ability to sit down and talk, all in defense of a senseless, outdated status quo.
The nuclear agreement paid dividends on Wednesday, senators. And 10 American sailors can soon embrace their families because of it.
Original article published by Quad City Time – Read it here