Reintegrating Iran Is in the U.S.'s Best Economic Interest

It is fascinating to read the comments that accompany the public debate around the approval of the Iran agreement. It is so obvious that it is better than the current situation that I find it necessary to spell the economic case on behalf of the agreement.
09/10/2015 12:22 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2016

It is fascinating to read the (generally uninformed) comments that accompany the public debate around the approval of the Iran agreement that has been negotiated for more than two years. It is so obvious that it is better than the current situation that I find it necessary to spell the economic case on behalf of the agreement.

No deal means ignorance of the local situation
Whether the proliferation of nuclear weapons is at stake or not, the reality is that the United States had to rely on its own intelligence to know what was actually going on in Iran. The agreement will put Iran under the scrutiny of international inspectors. While this is not a perfect solution, can anybody argue that it would be better not to dispose of any surveillance mechanism?

Re-balancing the division of Islam: the religious war
The Bush administration and its chief warrior, Dick Cheney, did not recognize that by aggressing Iraq, they were effectively supporting the Sunnis and destroying a regime that was less Islamist. It is one of the roots of the war between Iraq and Iran that Saddam Hussein won thanks to Dick Cheney's support. Now he calls the deal "madness."

It is a major strategic mistake for the United States to appear to be on one side of a religious war and not aiming to avoid them. An agreement with Iran recognizes the importance of a 90% Shia country. It also explains the Saudi and Qatari Sunni regimes's opposition. It also explains the obstructive attitude of the French Government, a staunch ally of Qatar, even though the French sent a trade mission to Tehran in early 2014, undermining the negotiation efforts.
The ISIS insurgency and the Syrian, Yemeni and Libyan conflicts are also religious wars.

The Iranian population is eager to deal with the United States
The explosion of joy when the deal was concluded in the streets of Tehran leaves no ambiguity to the strong desire of the Iranians, especially the youth, to openly reconnect with the United States that they could only reach through clandestine channels.

After decades of economic sanctions, we owe the 80 million Persians who live in Iran the ability to officially reconnect with their diaspora that left when the Shah was overthrown by Ayatollah Khomeini.

With $17,000 of GDP per capita , this is an educated, sophisticated and historically meaningful population that we will embrace and enjoy interacting with.

US business will benefit from embracing economic cooperation with Iran

I have been advocating in September 2009 that the US "go back to business" with Iran. The US is not even among the 150 diplomatic missions in Tehran!

Russia, China and Britain have already started sending trade missions. Iran has a huge potential for the United States business. It would be stupid for the GOP to oppose this agreement since the US oil industry will find there a huge opportunity to develop the Iranian oil production that ranks seventh in the world. There are many other sectors that will allow US services and industry to develop trade and investments for the 15th largest economy in the world. The opposition is led by Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz's Capitol Hill rally demonstrates both candidates' inability to understand foreign policy.

The historic and strategic dimensions are compelling
US foreign policy has been dominated by a trend of exclusions. President Obama is lifting two of them: Cuba and Iran. It is essential that the Treaty be endorsed by Congress. We need to have a better knowledge of historic, ethnic, economic and financial considerations at the State Department. Do we have better abilities to support human rights in Iran by treating them as outsiders and pariahs?

Engaging is the best way to bring peace to a country that was at the origin of our civilization.
Last but not least, the fact that the deal includes Russia and China is hugely meaningful for world cooperation in the region where we are divided.