So continuing on my last post, lets assume for a moment that the warm-and-fuzzy explanation is really the reason for the changed US policy; that some mass outbreak of rationality has occurred and people in power have decided to actually engage Iran positively and constructively with an actual intention of actually reaching an anctual deal that actually respects Iran's legal rights -- since we all can naturally agree that anyone's fundamental rights should be a "red line" -- to a full and unencumbered or limited enrichment program.
What will that mean to Iran and Iranians, aside from
the last 10 year's worth of weekly-published glossy pull-out sections published by Newsweek and Time and Economist detailing the routes that US and Israeli bombers will take to attack Iran, never proving true?
Fundamentally, the Islamic Revolution in Iran has been a success, not just materially as proven by the HDI figures but also in the moral sense of seeking to combine democratic ideals with religious values. I say this not as a personal religious preference but simply with the recognition of the undeniable fact that Iranian society was then (and still is, but perhaps to
a lesser degree) fundamentally religious and conservative. That's just a truth. And so any form of legitimate govt they have would be based on such values, naturally. But these values change. And Iranian society is changing. To date, the sanctions have served as an obstacle to change. This is especially true in the human rights context, so I'm so surprised that the claimed promoters of human rights would be opposed to removing sanctions on Iran -- they themselves call for more and yet more sanctions on Iran because of its long history of human rights abuses. Well, if there is such a long history of human rights abses which have endured through 35 years of US-Iran emnity and sanctions, isn't that an argument for changing the policy and trying a new approach?
You see, human rights don't improve in countries because the leaders flip a switch one morning since they're feeling particularly generous. It happens because of a variety of reasons including fundamental socio-cultural-political development, and underneath all that is yet more fundamental economic development. It is ironic that people who claim that economic liberty is a precondition to political liberty, as do the "conservatives" in the US --seem to think that imposing economic hardship on a country will somehow improve human rights there. By preventing a country from developing economically, you prevent true development of respect for human rights.
Anyway, I'm tired of typing so my point in short is, take a look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs. These are things people want and expect from life, and amongst these are some items
that people to varying degrees specifically expect government to provide to them. In other words, they expect not only for the govt to remove the provie the basics of existence such as clean water and also to remove trash, educate the kids, and defend the realm from insecurity, but to also assert moral authority and provide purpose. Yes, even in democracies (Ask any American "What does America stand for" and they'll promptly tell you "Freedom and Democracy" because that WAS the brand, at least)
Since the revolution Iran has done well in providing the basics on this
hierarchy -- 22 years of increased lifespan since the Islamic Revolution is no joke -- thoug a sense of *relative* poverty exists due to high income differences which cause a sense of perceived poverty. But more importantly, now people as in any country want to consider their government as being morally legitimate, and that requires the government to not just pay attention to human rights as well as providing the other lower-level services that govts are expected to provide for basic existence, and more importantly, to be seen as doing so. This is normal for any country not just Iran, because there is a limit to how far you can rely on brute force to gain public acquiescence, and N Korea is an example of what happens when that route is taken to the extreme.
THis doesn't mean that for example homosexuality will become legal and gays will start marrying in Iran. Unlike what the media reports, that's not going to happen anytime soon in Iran -- not because of "the government" as the media like to claim -- but because Iranian soceity as a whole considers homosexualty to be repulsive. This may come as a disappointment to Western-residing liberal secular pro-democracy activists particularly of the keyboard type, but that's only because theyve never actually been to Iran.