For those of you who have followed our blog, supported our Kickstarter campaign, or are simply interested in our effort to bring WMD to life, you know a central part of our story is the Iranian nuclear program. When we started writing this novel a year ago we knew we were going to be writing about nukes in the Middle East so it seemed natural to make the Iranian program a core element of our plot, and one of the items we wanted to “rip from the headlines.”
As a result, we have followed the developments in the Iranian nuclear negotiations very closely, taking pieces here and there and adding them into our story. We’ve tried to weave in fairness, accuracy, and sometimes humor, into this story arc.
What Do We Take as “Fact”
Like any writer, we come at this issue with a point of view, so we thought it might be a good idea to clue you into what we see as the state of Iran and its foreign policy.
- Iran is a dominant power in the Middle East, and the strongest Shiite nation in the region. They are also state sponsors of Hezbollah and Hamas, both of which engage in terrorist activities.
- Iran is jockeying for strategic positioning vis-à-vis the Sunni nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the Gulf states. Shiites and Sunnis have been at odds with one another for a millennium–it is doubtful that situation will change anytime soon.
- Iran is backing Iraq – a predominantly Shiite nation – and numerous Shia militias and other groups to defeat the Islamic State and al Qaida, which places them in agreement with the United States and most Western nations over the need to break those two terrorist organizations.
- Iran is a client state of Russia and has been in contact with Pakistan, North Korea, and China–none of whom seem to be a friend of the United States these days–possibly for access to nuclear technology.
- Iran does not yet possess nuclear weapons, and there has yet to be definitive proof Iran is actually pursuing development of a nuclear arsenal.
- What power would the world give to the moderates in Iran if President Rouhani’s administration were to succeed in reaching a nuclear accord with the Western nations?
What is This Nuclear Deal Anyway?
What currently exists is a framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 Western nations, which include UN Security Council members US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany as the “Plus One”. (That’s right, six Western nations managed to agree on a nuclear deal framework with Iran.) The framework agreement is a broad outline under which the parties negotiate a final detailed agreement before the end of June 2015.
Nevertheless, any nuclear agreement with Iran and the P5+1 is only an executive branch agreement, not a treaty which would require 2/3rds approval from the Senate. However, in late-breaking news, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has drafted a bill giving the Senate a limited say in whether or not any Iranian deal gets approved. The bill is being debated in the Senate right now.
Real Life Can Be Stranger Than Fiction
Like most people, we’d like to see a world that’s getting safer instead of more dangerous, but that doesn’t necessarily make for a good story. Current events seem to be on the side of the storyteller. The Middle East appears to be sliding toward more instability and clear cut answers are not to be found. As an example, the US is acting against Iran on issues like Hezbollah, fighting against ISIS in concert with Iran, and trying to negotiate a nuclear weapons deal–all at the same time.
Complex doesn’t begin to describe those boundary conditions, but it certainly leaves lots of room for fiction!
It gets weirder. If we had written into our book that 47 Senators would send a letter to Iran that said “you may not fully understand our constitutional system” and then imply that they would not support any agreement signed by the Obama administration, we would have considered that action implausible…And yet, it happened. Even better, it happened in time that it make into the WMD manuscript!
If you want to see how the Two Navy Guys resolve the Iranian nuclear weapons dilemma, you can preorder your copy of Weapons of Mass Deception right here.
David Bruns is the creator of the sci-fi series The Dream Guild Chronicles, and one half of the Two Navy Guys and a Novel blog series about co-writing the military thriller, Weapons of Mass Deception, coming in May 2015.