The forces that do not want a U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, nor any U.S. detente with Iran, are impressive.
Among them are the Israelis and their powerful lobby AIPAC, the Saudis and their Sunni allies on the Persian Gulf, a near unanimity of Republicans and a plurality of Democrats in Congress.
Is there a case to be made for a truce in the venomous conflict that has gone on between us since the taking of U.S. hostages in 1979? Is there any common ground?
To both questions, President Obama and John Kerry believe the answer is yes. And they are not without an argument.
First, the alternative to a truce — breaking off of negotiations, doubling down on demands Iran dismantle all nuclear facilities, tougher sanctions — inevitably leads to war. And we all know it.
Yet Americans do not want another war in the Middle East, with a nation three times the size of Iraq, and its allies across the region.
Nor can Iran want such a war. Had the ayatollahs and mullahs wanted it, they could have had a war with the United States at any time in the third of a century since they seized power.
Yet as Ronald Reagan was taking the oath in 1981, our hostages were suddenly on their way home. With the accidental shoot-down of an Iranian Airbus by the cruiser Vincennes in 1988, the Ayatollah ended his war with Saddam Hussein, fearful the Americans were about to intervene on the side of Iraq.
Why Iran wants to avoid war is obvious. Given U.S. air, missile and naval power, and cyberwarfare capabilities, a war with the United States would do to Iran what we did to Iraq, smash it up, set it back decades, perhaps break up the country.
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