The turbulence of the Middle East seems light years away from the summer vacation focus of the Okanagan.
But as tourists and local residents alike head for the shores of Okanagan Lake to relax and get a tan, diplomats from numerous countries culminated a lengthy negotiating process to hash out a nuclear accord with Iran this week.
On Monday, a deal was reached which, if approved, will shape the destiny of the Middle East for the next decade at least and possibly beyond in a positive way.
While the deal is complicated, it essentially bans Iran from possessing or creating nuclear arms for the next 10 years under stringent inspection protocols carried out by the UN.
In return, the economic penalties that Iran has been submitted to for many years in response to pushing its nuclear research program in a military direction will be lifted, opening up billions that has been trapped in foreign banks for the country’s government and allowing it to begin selling oil worldwide again.
While the agreement’s focus is nuclear weapons development control in Iran, it also may offer a chance for that country to mature into something more as a nation beyond just a cradle for exporting religious fanaticism. That is not where the average Iranian’s head is at. They want a better life, more exposure to western culture. For a country where the majority of the population is under the age of 40, lifting economic sanctions is a step in that direction.
As history has shown us from the fall of Communism, the lure of economic prosperity is far more powerful a notion than military power. In this case, it could become a lynch pin for change in Iran as the sanctions disappear, a tide a ruling government resisting to change won’t be able to stop.
Hopefully, this accord can be a step forward in that direction, a reflection that for once in the Middle East, outsiders have tried to do the right thing.