Saturday's letters: Generational change coming in Iran

Published Jul. 17, 2015

Iran deal curbs nuclear pursuit | July 15

Generational changes due in Iran

I believe the deal the president and the secretary of state, John Kerry, cut with the Iranians on their nuclear program has more promise than most realize. Not so much from the severity of the sanctions it imposes, but more because of the length of time they are imposed.

The 10 to 15 years the restrictions are in place is the most important element of the deal. There are significant generational differences in Iran. Older people whose ideological orientations were formed before the 1979 Islamic Revolution are more likely to retain the kinds of anti-American perspectives that pervade the rest of the region. However, this ideology is weaker or nonexistent among younger Iranians. And, as we know, most Iranians are young.

My belief is that in the 10 to 15 years that the Iranian youth mature and begin running their country, they will have a different perspective than their elders. They will remember living under the sanctions and how crippling that was for their country, and be more inclined to a mainstream relationship with the West and share in the opportunities that exist here.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Iran deal curbs nuclear pursuit | July 15

On the path to peace

This deal marks progress and success, and it will be the legacy of President Barack Obama.

I have heard a lot of negative feedback from conservatives who call this deal a mistake tantamount to the mistakes made with North Korea. While this deal may not be flawless, it is a monumental step in the right direction. It first and foremost significantly reduces the chance of war, which is a victory in itself for both sides. While Republicans shake their heads and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu berates these efforts, I have yet to hear any other viable solutions from them.

There are elements of this long, detailed agreement that people should be informed about (and celebrate). First, Iran must give up a vast majority of its centrifuges. In addition, it will only be keeping the first-generation centrifuges. In simpler terms, Iran's nuclear program will have the capability to do very little in terms of creating a nuclear weapon. Secondly, Iran will only be allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent. This essentially ensures that the raw uranium will only be used for nuclear power plants, not for a bomb.

By lifting the sanctions, both parties benefit. For too long, both sides have been punishing the people of Iran for political reasons. This tactic is, in my eyes, unfair and unjust. The sanctions have crumbled Iran's economy, hurting the citizens more than the government we are disgruntled with. With this deal, we can finally provide the Iranian people with the ability to prosper. We are putting an end to the suffering of an entire population — a population that has many youthful Western supporters in it.

The deal does have an expiration date, but that does not mean that in the years to come we cannot continue to negotiate. This marks the beginning of a long but promising path to peace.

Doniya Milani, Tampa

Alternatives to war

What part of "keep your enemies close" do U.S. conservatives not understand? We may not love the Chinese government, but we have made pacts with them that benefit our country. The same can be said of Vietnam and Russia. Iran is the only stable Muslim country in the Middle East and while we may abhor their politics, we will need them in our fight against worse radical factions. Israel will always be our ally, but we cannot allow it to dictate our foreign policy.

History will show the follies of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and we do not need to repeat those mistakes.

Susan N. Walzer, St. Petersburg

Fantasy or reality?

Based the Washington Post's account of the Iran deal, our administration has negotiated the perfect solution to Iran's nuclear threat. And in the sports section, I read that Rob Manfred, the Major League Baseball commissioner, sees the Tampa Bay area as a viable market.

I think I got the Grimm's version of the paper.

Dave Helper, Tierra Verde

Fear for the future

My newborn grandson will be 8 years old and my 3-year-old old grandson will be 11 when the arms embargo on Iran runs out. Thank you, Mr. President. You have accomplished what past presidents in my 80 years, Democrat or Republican, never could or would do: I now fear for my grandchildren's future.

Michael P. Catalano, Palm Harbor

Windfall for Iran

Our president just gave a hostile and oil-wealthy nation that hates us permission to build a nuclear bomb — as long as they promise to build it slowly. Since no Iranians screamed "Death to America" at the negotiations, Barack Obama will lift sanctions.

Add to that a return of $100 billion in frozen assets that can be put right into Iran's "bomb fund," and Iran will be sitting pretty. Not to mention well-armed.

The only financial question left for Iran is who will pay for the thousands of American flags they will burn in the streets after all the negotiators go home.

David Fraser, Clearwater