May 25, 2024
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Let’s Shake Hands and Hate a Deal

“Ladies and Gentlemen, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then what is it? That’s right, it’s a duck—but this duck is a nuclear duck. And it’s time the world started calling a duck a duck.”—Benjamin Netanyahu at AIPAC in 2012

I’d like to talk about a very serious problem. The world’s duck population is getting extremely out of hand. Children trying to get to school are being delayed by ducks trying to cross the road. Our ponds and rivers have been overtaken by mallards, and the fish have filed so many complaints that they’ve overwhelmed the EPA. And instead of hearing tweeting and twittering (the fowl-type, not the electronic variation) in the morning, we’re hearing a constant chorus of quacks. We need to solve this, and I have the solution!

Admittedly, this article is not actually about ducks. I wanted to start off with something lighthearted before jumping into this week’s topic, which is quite heavy: the Iran Deal. Ever since news of the deal broke out, the media, the public, and particularly the Jewish community have all been in an uproar—for very good reason. At the simplest level, the deal places new restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activity, and in return, alleviates economic sanctions on Iran.

Obviously, many people have issues with the deal, and I’d like to offer some of my thoughts. Let me make this clear: I oppose the deal. But I know, as I’ll explain later, that there’s no real solution to any part of this mess.

Many of the stipulations apply for only a set amount of time—for instance, Iran needs to shrink its supply of uranium by almost 100 percent, but only for 15 years. Of course that seems like a long time. But what happens when it ends? Once the time is up, does this whole conversation start back up? Do we go back to the drawing board and formulate an Iran Deal #2? (You hated the first one… Now for the repulsive sequel! Iran Deal #2, coming soon to a holo-theater near you. By that time I hope holographic theaters exist.) Or does Iran get free reign and gets to start building back up its stockpiles?

In addition, who’s to say that Iran is going to hold up its part of the bargain? According to Reuters, Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader (the only thing cool about him is his title), claimed in front of an audience that Iran wouldn’t listen to any policies America tried to impose upon it. And then the audience went wild… with yells of “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” In other words, the deal doesn’t seem to match the sentiment of either a part of Iranian public opinion (I can’t speak for everyone in Iran, of course, but this is still troubling). More importantly, the man who really holds the power, President Hassan Rouhani himself, has made a decent impression on many, and while I can’t say that I like him, I respect how he’s managed to put on a diplomatic face. However, he doesn’t hold the true power in Iran—and the one who does, Khamenei, doesn’t seem willing to follow any sort of deal. So it may have all been for naught.

With any conversation about Iran’s nuclear power, Israel comes to mind. We need to think of what the ramifications of the deal are for Israel. Given that the deal seems pretty suspect and that there’s a good chance Iran will eventually flout it, Israel is still at risk of being attacked by Iran should it one day get a nuclear weapon. In that sense, nothing has really changed, but that doesn’t make it any less serious. Israel has a right to exist and to not feel threatened, and Iran’s constant rhetoric and impending nuclear power undermines all of that.

There’s no real solution to the controversy surrounding the Iran deal right now. What I think we need to do, however, is to keep the conversation going, no matter how each of us feels about it. It’s a major issue and whether you’re for it or against it, we aren’t going to make any progress either way unless we keep the discussion alive, keep making sure people know what’s going on. And for those of us like myself whom oppose it, we need to make our voices heard—writing letters, signing petitions, and so on. Because we can’t just sit there as a “nuclear duck” threatens everything…

Sources: Times of Israel, BBC News, Reuters

Oren Oppenheim, 17, is a rising senior (yes, he did survive junior year!) at Ramaz Upper School in Manhattan and lives in Fair Lawn, NJ. He spends his free time writing and reading, and hopes to become a published novelist and a journalist. He is currently attending the BIMA Arts program at Brandeis University, majoring in creative writing and minoring in animation. You can email him at [email protected] and see his photography at facebook.com/orenphotography.

By Oren Oppenheim

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