You may have noticed that every opinion piece I’ve linked to on the Iran deal so far, for or against, has been by an American Jew. But, you might be surprised to learn, American Jews aren’t the only people with opinions on the matter! There are also, for example, Iranians. I was reading this report of Iranian opinion by Iranian scholar Abbas Milani and former Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul. What struck me is that the opposition to the deal in Iran largely mirrors the western opposition.
American opponents complain that Iran was “let off the hook” for past offenses. Iranian opponents:
Abbasi ripped into every facet of the talks, saying that the negotiators, “especially Mr. Rouhani … have accepted the premise that [Iran] is guilty.” Several conservative clerics and IRGC commanders have expressed similar sentiments.
American opponents claim the U.S. gave up on its red lines and asked nothing in return. Iranian opponents:
One prominent critic of the deal claimed that of the 19 redlines stipulated by the supreme leader, 18 and a half had been compromised in the current agreement.
American opponents worry that the inspections are insufficiently intrusive and will allow Iran to keep a clandestine program. Iranian opponents:
Conservative opponents of the deal tend to emphasize its near-term negative security consequences. […] They have denounced the system for inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities as an intelligence bonanza for the CIA.
American opponents say Kerry and company were hoodwinked by Iranian negotiators. Iranian opponents:
[Conservative Iranian commentators] have issued blistering attacks on the incompetence of Iran’s negotiating team, claiming that negotiators caved on many key issues and were outmaneuvered by more clever and sinister American diplomats.
This says nothing, of course, about whether the deal is a good idea. But to me it suggests that opposition to the deal is in many cases motivated by the suspicion that negotiating at all is already losing. That having a clear enemy is more important than having a deal.