Congressman gives Glimpse of Foreign Policy to Washburn Students

Brenden Williams

On Aug. 31, Former Congressman Jim Slattery spoke and answered questions regarding the Iranian Nuclear Deal giving Washburn students a glimpse into the world of politics and foreign policy.

Slattery started off explaining the history behind the Iranian conflict. He addressed terrorism, explaining that Iranians are generally Shiite, not Sunni which are the denomination of Islamic faith commonly thought to be linked with terrorism.

“Every terrorist attack on America has been by Sunni radicals,” Slattery explained, also stating the 9/11 attack was also Sunni, not Shiite.

“We have empowered Iran. We took out their biggest enemy: Saddam,” said Slattery as he explained how and why Iran has become a major player in the game of Middle East politics.

“The opponent would have us believe that if we reject this agreement, we can sort of go back to the status quo. Incorrect; the European allies have told us that they agreed to this sanctions, as tough as they are, and the Russian and Chinese agreed with this as well for the purpose of getting the Iranians to come to the table and negotiate on the nuclear question. It is their view, they have come to the table and reached an agreement, a balanced and reasonable agreement, and that’s why sanctions should be lifted,” said Slattery, explaining that all major world powers from Russia to China are involved in this deal and support it. He also made it clear he supported the agreement, calling it “balanced and reasonable” to both sides.

Slattery then opened the floor to questions, many of which dealt with President Obama’s legacy being affected by the Iranian deal and also of his experiences in Tehran, as President Obama has gone there many times to work with Iranians on multiple different projects throughout the region. One topic Slattery discussed is how President Obama and the government of the United States worked with Iran to improve some schools in Iran, schools that he said were 60% women, noting that the generally Muslim country is moving forward when dealing with rights to education.

“The other assumption is that Iranians will come back to the table and give more. And you can say that, but what reasons would they have for doing that? They’re not going to do it,” said Slattery when addressing a question of if the government could find a better deal. His short answer was no, listing all countries involved in the deal currently taking place, noting that all had agreed it was best.