Amidst the commemoration and sad recollection of the assassination of President Kennedy, which was 50 years ago, we needed some uplift. What a pleasure it was indeed to hear some good news from Washington for a change.
First of all, most people in the United States were relieved when we avoided a military action against the Syrian regime as a reaction to its use of chemical weapons against its civilian population east of Baghdad. Thanks to the cooperation between President Putin of Russia, our state department and Assad of Syria, an agreement was reached to get rid of all those weapons plus all the ingredients needed for making them. What a relief.
Then there was the news that the Senate finally changed its rules of the filibuster, the infamous tactic used in outrageous excess during the presidency of Obama. This tactic was not part of the Constitution, and it had been modified in the 1970s and was used sparingly until now.
The Republicans had openly declared that they will do everything to prevent President Obamas success, and one of their tools has been the filibuster. Now the new order of simple majority, instead of the 60 vote super-majority, will allow the essential administrative appointments being confirmed and the enormous backlog of judicial appointments to go through.
Now the best news from Geneva, where the delegates of six countries, including Russia and China, finally on Sunday morning hammered an agreement with Iran to not only halt but even to reduce its uranium enrichment activity at least for the next six months. They agree to stop at 5 percent purity instead of 20 percent, which is needed for weapons grade.
They want to retain their right to use uranium for energy and for medical purposes. Israel, which finds itself as a strange bed fellow with Saudi Arabia and the other gulf states, opposes the agreement and demands a complete dismantling of all nuclear facilities in Iran.
As a senior citizen in Watertown, I cant help but rejoice the achievement in Geneva. Diplomacy has won over war-mongering.
For 34 years, our relations with Iran have been hostile. And for 10 years, they have lived under sanctions. It is time to embrace the sophisticated, highly educated Iranians, the inheritors of the ancient Persian civilization.
Maire T. Zakrzewski