The World Supports the United Nations’ Non-Proliferation Agreement with Iran

The Security Council unanimously adopts resolution establishing a
monitoring system for Iran’s nuclear program.
UN Photo / Devra Berkowitz

(The World Reacts, Part II)

American Public Opinion Supports the Deal;
Oklahomans Support the Agreement in Bi-Partisan Fashion;
Here is a Summary of Statements from World Leaders.

“Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.”
— Article iii of the Preamble and General Provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
signed July 14, 2015, by representatives of:
The Russian Federation
The United Kingdom
The United States
European Union (High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and
The Islamic Republic of Iran

By now, everyone knows that representatives of the P5 members of the United Nations Security Council, together with Germany and the European Union, have signed a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The new agreement reinforces previous agreements signed by Iran, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond:
“After more than a decade of tough negotiations we have
reached an historic agreement that will impose strict limits
and inspections on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Under the agreement, Iran will grant the International
Atomic Energy Agency access to verify adherence to the
restrictions placed on its nuclear program, giving the
international community confidence that the program is,
and will remain, exclusively peaceful.
“Having reached this important agreement, our focus will
now be on its swift and full implementation to make sure
that a nuclear weapon remains beyond Iran’s reach.”

In the moments after the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), there was a flurry of news releases and statements from politicians of all stripes who wanted to make their voices heard. Opponents of the deal were lined up outside the doors of the cable TV news rooms, waiting to be interviewed.

Prime Minister Netanyahu denounced the agreement, saying Israel would not be bound by its terms. In Congress, Speaker of the House John Boehner opposed the deal, saying, “The president has abandoned his own goals.” Donald Trump wasted no time in calling the agreement “an absolutely horrible deal.”

Meanwhile, our own Senator James Inhofe released a statement announcing his (not surprising) opposition to the deal. He predicted, “The president’s agreement with Iran will… put the Middle East on the brink of a nuclear arms race.”

Observing the way opponents of the deal seized the airwaves to state their viewpoints, Professor Juan Cole used his online soapbox to ask, “Why doesn’t US Media interview Real Allies on American Policy?”

Dr. Cole got us to thinking. We concluded that we should find out what the rest of the world is saying about the non-proliferation deal with Iran. Why not compile a listing of the statements from American friends and allies around the world?

It didn’t take us long to realize that a listing like this had already been produced on Wikipedia.

Here are some of the most relevant comments that we found:

“There was a significant worldwide response following the announcement of the agreement. Most countries and international organizations welcomed the agreement….”
Wikipedia entry on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

The EU’s Federica Mogherini

From countries that are parties to the JCPOA

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that “the most important achievement of the comprehensive agreement is that the international nuclear non-proliferation system is safeguarded. It can be said that China had played a unique and constructive role and thus is highly praised and affirmed by all parties. In the next step, there are still many matters to be attended to concerning the implementation of the agreement. China will continuously make new contribution to this end with a responsible attitude.”

European Union
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, who acted as coordinator for the powers, said it could “open the way to a new chapter in international relations and show that diplomacy, coordination, cooperation can overcome decades of tensions and confrontations” and that it is “a sign of hope for the entire world.”

In a Bastille Day speech, French President Francois Hollande praised the deal…. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Monde the pact was a “robust agreement” that would last at least a decade, and said that he might visit Iran soon. Both Hollande and Fabius pledged that France would be “extremely vigilant” in the implementation of the agreement.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the agreement was “an important success” of international diplomacy….

Russian Federation
President Vladimir Putin said in a statement: “We are certain that the world heaved a sigh of relief today.” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated the accord “will favorably affect the general situation in the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf.”

United Kingdom
Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the agreement, saying that it would help “make our world a safer place” and that Iran now had a “real opportunity” to benefit economically.

Arab states of the Persian Gulf 

Kuwait –
Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, congratulated all the nations involved in the negotiations and hoped the deal would lead to stability in the region.

Qatar –
The government welcomed the agreement as a “significant step” toward enhancing regional peace and stability.

Saudi Arabia –
In an official statement Saudi Arabia said that the kingdom has always believed in the importance of reaching a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program that ensures preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and at the same time includes a specific, strict and permanent mechanism for inspecting all sites – including military ones – along with a mechanism for rapidly and effectively re-imposing sanctions in case Iran violates the deal.

The United Arab Emirates expressed hope that the deal would contribute to regional security and stability.

A billboard in Oklahoma City
(Photo from the City Sentinel)

Elsewhere in the Muslim world 

Afghanistan –
Afghan president, Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, welcomed the agreement as a step toward “consolidation and strengthening of peace and stability in the region.”

Egypt –
The Egyptian foreign ministry said the deal will prevent an arms race in the Middle East. The statement expressed hopes that the Middle East can be free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

Iraq –
The Iraqi government applauded the agreement.

Pakistan –
The Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs “welcomed” the agreement, saying that “reciprocal confidence-building measures … auger well for peace and security in our region.” Former President Asif Ali Zardari welcomed the deal as “a triumph of diplomacy and negotiations over coercion and hostility.”

Australia’s Julie Bishop

Other countries  

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop endorsed the agreement, saying: “What it has done is [bring] Iran into the international regime of inspections of nuclear programs, and that is a good thing. I think we have to give this comprehensive plan a chance.”

Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson stated: “We appreciate the efforts of the P5+1 to reach an agreement. At the same time, we will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words. To this end, Canada will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran’s compliance with its commitments.”

President Juan Manuel Santos applauded the agreement as “another triumph of diplomacy over confrontation” and praised President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for their “courage” in securing the deal.

President Juan Manuel Santos

In a statement, Foreign Minister Børge Brende said: “This historic agreement will benefit the international community, the Middle East and Iran. It will also pave the way for closer political and economic contact with Iran.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement, saying that it’s an important measure to promote both regional and global security. They also called on the international community to maintain the positive momentum for long-term peace created by the agreement.

Holy See:
The Vatican applauded the deal, saying in a statement: “The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See.”

From international organizations

United Nations
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon issued a statement saying: “I warmly welcome the historic agreement in Vienna today and congratulate the P5+1 and Iran for reaching this agreement. This is testament to the value of dialogue. … The United Nations stands ready to fully cooperate with the parties in the process of implementing this historic and important agreement.”

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the agreement a “historic breakthrough” and stated: “It is critical for Iran to implement the provisions of today’s agreement and to fulfill all its international obligations and advance security in the region and beyond.”

What About American Public Opinion?

The Washington Post reports:

“Public polls show majorities or pluralities of Americans support the broad strokes of the deal, ranging from 46 to 61 percent. The finding of support for a deal is strikingly robust, with supporters outnumbering opponents across a wide range of question wordings and polling firms.”

“…A detailed February survey by the non-partisan Program on Public Consultation found that after reviewing an extensive issue briefing with arguments for and against a deal, more than 6 in 10 Democrats and Republicans supported making a compromise deal rather than increasing sanctions aimed at forcing the nation to give up its entire nuclear program.”

The more people know about the agreement, the more they like it. This was confirmed by follow-up surveys in Oklahoma, Virginia and Maryland.

In Oklahoma, more than 7 in 10 registered voters who participated in a “citizens cabinet” exercise favored a binding non-proliferation agreement rather than continued sanctions.

For more information on the survey results, see the PDF report on the Voice of the People website.

When we first wrote about this topic in April (See “The World Reacts, Part 1”), we found that public opinion on the negotiations with Iran was considerably more ambiguous. Now, it appears that public opinion may be swinging in favor of the deal as people learn more about the issues.


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