U.S. nuclear accord with Iran a huge opportunity

Ten years ago, during the throes of the Iraq War, such diplomacy would've seemed impossible.

This Sunday’s episode of Showtime’s Homeland zeroed in on Iran, and in a big way. Which, despite the show’s wildly improbable fits and starts, was pretty damn timely.

Here in the real world, from Sacramento to Shanghai, everyone's talking about this past weekend's U.S.-Iran nuclear accord in Switzerland. The New York Times called the pact “a seminal moment.” Israeli leadership and the Congressional Republicans called it dangerous.

I wonder what Iran's citizens must be thinking. They've been subject to some pretty horrible sanctions. Inflation in their country is completely out of whack, to the tune of 40 percent or higher, which is decimating Iran's middle class. Like most people in most countries, Iranians have very little control over the decisions of their government, yet suffer the brunt of their leaders' poor judgment.

This week's easing of sanctions and, importantly, the promise of six more months of dialogue will hopefully bring about unprecedented change for them. (Yes, “change” is oftentimes a code word for globalized, corporate, Western assimilation. But, in this case, let's just hope it simply means fairness, justice.)

Avoiding Westernization may be unlikely in the long game. But the Geneva Accord remains a big win for Iranians and Americans: It could forever end a certain U.S. contingent's hawkish desire for war in Iran. That's huge; there's no place for such drum-banging in a peaceful 21st century.

And that's why, just like arms-reduction chats with Russia and peaceful diplomacy with China, the big-cop America and the rebel Iran finally talking to each other again is truly seminal. Ten years ago, during the throes of the Iraq War, such diplomacy would've seemed impossible.

And now real talk is happening. Instead of war.