For every impassioned citizen brandishing a burning American flag, there are five more Iranians with encouraging smiles, soliciting our nationality. Before we can respond "Swiss!" or "Australian!", our irreverent guide, Abdullah, has already unmasked us.
Two surveys have just come out on the Iran nuclear deal that showed very different results. The one that simply asked for their initial reaction found plurality opposition, while the one that explained what the deal was about found solid majority support.
The United States, Israel and Iran should all ratify the CTBT to close the door on nuclear testing. It's a vital step toward peace and a step away from nuclear weapons.
It's no surprise that the powerful both set the rules and break the rules with impunity. The world system isn't presided over by Miss Manners. For small countries like Greece, there's not much room for maneuver between the regulations of the EU and the general parameters established by globalization. There isn't much room for democracy either, as Greek citizens discovered when they voted in Syriza and attempted to vote out austerity in the more recent referendum. Iran, a larger country that plays a strategic role in the Middle East, has considerably more room for maneuver than does Greece. But it too cannot unilaterally remake the rules of the game. It can only negotiate the best deal it can. In the end, it must open itself up to the kind of inspection regime that more powerful countries would never tolerate.
The Iran deal has become legally enshrined -- but that does not guarantee that Iran will fully abide by its provisions, let alone cease its subversive activity. To that end, to enforce the deal, the U.S. must focus not only on preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but how to force it to change its behavior.
The recent announcement of a nuclear deal between the governments of Iran and other major nations, including the United States, naturally draws our attention to the history of international nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements.
This week, the historic nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers was finalized. Provisions include reducing Iran's stockpile of uranium by 98 percent, IAEA inspections for 25 years, and a "snap-back" clause that would quickly reimpose sanctions if Iran breaks the deal. President Obama said it's "our best means of assuring that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon," and pointed out that critics haven't presented an alternative. But that didn't stop them from sounding off. Speaker Boehner called it "a bad deal" that "blows my mind." And Dick Cheney asked, "What the hell is the president thinking?" As the debate over the deal continues, it's worth noting that many of its most bellicose critics were among the biggest cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq -- the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history. Their opposition might well be the ultimate sign the agreement is in America's best interest.
Time will tell whether the nuclear agreement will have the desired results: elimination of Iran as a nuclear threat; reduction of its sponsorship of terrorist activities; opening Iran to commerce with the west; and guaranteeing Iranians a full range of human rights. But it's an important (long overdue) first step.
The rings of Hell are everywhere, we place our leap of faith that stalling nuclear development trumps continued sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression.
While entering into this nuclear deal with Iran is far from perfect, it nevertheless offers a potential for optimism. First of all, it would delay Iran's nuclear program for at least 10 to 15 years, and this alone is a significant benefit.
To put the precipice truly behind us, we have to push the Iran deal through Congress. And then the hard work really begins of turning a narrow nuclear agreement into the game-changer that the Middle East so desperately needs.
This week's historic agreement between the United States and Iran shows that diplomatic acumen combined with scientific prowess can still come together to help limit and delay the spread of nuclear weapons. Still, today's world remains exceedingly dangerous.
Let's not kid ourselves. The deal with Iran that President Barack Obama so proudly announced on Tuesday does not prevent the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power. Far from it. The unasked, and unanswered, question in all the predictable hubbub and blather is how much that matters.
As difficult as it was for President Rouhani to secure a deal, it will be even more difficult for him to sustain popular support for it when all the excitement dies down. More significantly, Iran's economy is in dire need of foreign investment, particularly in its oil and gas sectors.
Nuclear disarmament has long been one of President Obama's top foreign policy priorities. In fact, in his first major speech on foreign policy in 2009, President Obama described his vision of a "world without nuclear weapons."