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Dr. Charles G. Cogan Headshot

Gray Abandon

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As The New York Times has reported, on Jan. 12 Iran and a group of six world powers completed a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran's nuclear program beginning Jan. 20 and lasting six months, pending a possible comprehensive agreement. In return, Iran will be given limited relief from Western economic sanctions. The Jan. 12 agreement is the finalization of an accord reached in Geneva on Nov. 24, 2013.

However, a bill is being prepared in the Senate supporting strict new sanctions that, if the bill comes to pass, would likely torpedo the interim agreement just reached. It already has the backing of 59 senators, including 16 Democrats, which puts them near the two-thirds necessary to override what would certainly be President Obama's veto of such a bill. So far, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has resisted pressure to have the bill come to a vote.

I'm not going to go near a third rail of American politics to speculate on why such a huge number of senators has supported a move that would likely cut off a promising opening toward a peaceful new chapter in American and Western relations with Iran.

However, I will note, in the context of inviting a new war in the region, that, for the first time, a majority of members of Congress (268 out of 534 members of the 113th Congress) are millionaires. Our congresspersons have a net median worth of $1,008,767. Additionally, at the beginning of the 113th Congress, the average age of a member of the House of Representatives was 57, and the average age of a senator was 62, according to Wikipedia. None of them should ever have to go to war.

Give peace a chance.