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Letters to the Editor: March 18, 2014

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As diplomatic relations improve, Iran
might well become an ally for regional stability, peace and the security
of U.S. interests. Iran is the size of Alaska with a population of 75
million and an advanced military. President Rouhani and Foreign Minister
Zarif are Westerneducated and pro-West, reaching out to change Iran’s
image.

TV personality Rick Steves (Rick Steves’ Europe) calls
Iran “the most misunderstood country he has ever visited.” His 2008
documentary about his tourism in Iran reports a modern and developed
society, the majority of whom admire the U.S. and the Western world.

Iran
maintains that their nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful
purposes — nuclear energy and medical uses. Skeptics in Congress and
Israel do not believe this, but the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), doing inspections in Iran for years, has not reported evidence
to the contrary.

Despite naysayers and obstructionists,
the negotiations that Iran agreed to with the P5+1 nations (U.S.,
China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany) are on track. There is great
promise in the progress thus far.

UN inspectors with
the IAEA report that Iran is complying with the demands of the
agreement. According to the IAEA, Iran has stopped producing 20 percent
enriched uranium (UF6), has disabled centrifuges producing UF6, has
begun diluting its stockpile of UF6 to be complete in six months, has
stopped installing additional centrifuges, has begun providing
information required by the agreements and is granting increasing access
to IAEA inspectors. The IAEA is doubling the numbers of their
inspection teams and is installing additional monitoring equipment. All
this means enhanced transparency of Iran’s nuclear program for the
international community. “Trust but verify” has an honorable tradition
in serious negotiations.

— Nathaniel Batchelder,
Director of the Peace House in Oklahoma City, a member of Americans Against the Next War
Oklahoma City

Blowing smoke
Troy Scott’s letter to the editor (Commentary, Feb. 26, Oklahoma Gazette) decrying the pollution of smoking on state property, such as at park entrances, put me in mind of a little vignette at just such an entrance. Two nicely dressed women were leaving the park and, seeing a gentleman smoking by the entrance, one complained loudly, ostensibly to her friend in much the same vein as Mr. Scott. Then they got into her large SUV, backed out and headed down the road, a geyser of carbon monoxide and fuel exhaust waste spewing upon us.

Ironic, huh?

— Jeannine Bettis
Oklahoma City

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