Congressman Jim McGovern  joined Boston Public Radio's Margery Eagan and Jared Bowen (in for Jim Braude) to discuss the revival of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the intensifying discussions around the Iran nuclear deal. 

He discussed the flag raising over the US Embassy in Cuba saying: "It was incredibly emotional. We haven't had a flag flying over that embassy for five decades and the four marines who took the flag down were present to take the flag down and hand it over to Marines who were going to raise the flag...To take down the flag has to be traumatic for these marines... they had pledged to themselves that they would come back. It finally happened and it was incredible. I think it is a positive thing." 

McGovern, who has long advocated that we change our policy towards Cuba.  went on to say "the isolation was an embarrassment." Adding "we ought to be able to talk to each other directly and that's what normal diplomatic relations are all about... My hope is that we can chip away at the travel restrictions. I find it so ironic that the United States of America that values freedom so much, denies our citizens the right to travel. I think the United States is the greatest country on the planet...and I think a great country should act like a great country." 

McGovern, whose passion for Cuba grew out of his time as an aid for Massachusetts Congressman Joe Moakley, and as an intern for Senator George McGovern  went to share a story of a meeting he had in the last month of the Clinton White House in which he urged then-President Clinton to reconsider US-Cuban relations. He passed him an Op-Ed, "and he was intrigued by it, but he was so consumed with Palestine and the Israel, and he said 'if only I had another month.'"

McGovern also discussed his concerns around the ongoing congressional discussions of the Iran deal. While he admits "all of our military involvement in the middle east in recent years have been disasters," he still strongly supports the deal. "This agreement is not just between the US and Iran, this is a multilateral agreement." He goes on to share that he has "sat through a number of briefings, both classified and unclassified, talked to diplomats from all over the world to get a sense of where the cracks were," and concluded that "when it comes to the transportation to nuclear materials it's pretty impossible for them to cheat." 

For McGovern, "it's pretty clear that it's this deal or no deal," and, he adds "the alternatives are all bad."

>>To hear our conversation with Congressman Jim McGovern, click on the audio above.