“How do you see Iran?” asks Rashin Khosravibavandpouri, an Iranian-born journalist, M.S. student in international relations at Suffolk University, and member of Massachusetts Peace Action’s Middle East Working Group, at a talk on June 23rd.
In the media, Iran is portrayed as the bad guy; the terrorists, the ones who are building a nuclear bomb sure to head our way. The Iran nuclear negotiations, we are told, are dangerous; how can we possibly trust the Iranians to keep their end of the bargain?
Rashin painted a very different picture during her talk. According to Rashin, Iran supported us during 9/11, and wished to be our allies — but we still marked them as terrorists, and when we invaded Iraq in 2003, Iran saw itself as our next target. We and the UN have been imposing sanctions on the Iranians for years, halting their economy and refusing them access to the rest of the world. In the middle of a nuclear negotiation, a group of terrorists called the Jandallah attacked a nuclear base in Iran — but we labeled them as merely a resistance. This infuriated the Iranian government, and they called off the deal. If there is anyone not to be trusted, it is us.
The Iran nuclear negotiations might be the last bit of hope we have for peaceful relationships with Iran. Many believe that Iran is planning on building a nuclear bomb and plans to use it against the US, and that we should be invading Iran and stopping them by force. Whether or not this is true, a fair and clear negotiation is a far better alternative. Perhaps we are making erroneous assumptions about the Iranians. Perhaps the entire system is a bit unfair. That’s what some think.
But peaceful negotiations, no matter what the context, are always better than bombs. As our colleague, Mary Popeo, said: “I support the Iran Deal because it is one step closer to a nuclear-free future.” There’s something to that.