The Iranian Nuclear Deal
The big question on the world stage in the past few months has been what will happen with the Iranian nuclear program if the current deal goes through. The deal seeks to reduce sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran giving up capabilities to create nuclear weapons. In an oval office interview, president Obama stated that the deal is the best option for preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. President Obama stated that bombing Iranian nuclear facilities would simply slow them down for a few years and start another war in the Middle East. He continues on to state that increased sanctions would lead Iran making “more progress” with their nuclear program as has been the case with previous sanctions. In a Fox News interview, Nile Gardner, Director at the Margaret Thatcher center at the Heritage Foundation and an expert in trans-Atlantic relations and security issues, expressed that by 2030 a sunset clause in the current deal would allow Iran to pursue nuclear weapons proliferation. The clause would force Iran to keep its nuclear program where it is for a period of time in the double digits, most reports hinting at approximately ten to twenty years, before the restrictions are lifted. Gardner also expressed concerns that allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons would spark an arms race in the Middle East.
The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, says that Iran will comply with the terms of the deal saying “We can cooperate with the world.” The Iranian people, including Rouhani are excited about the deal. Some even quoting a Persian proverb that reads: “A good year is determined by its spring.” Iranians are hopeful that the deal will ensure a successful year to come. I would expect Iran to have many bountiful years to follow if the deal passes as economic sanctions would be lifted and nuclear energy would be more easily researched in Iran.
On the other hand, Israel is not excited about the deal. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, has expressed great concern over Iran achieving a nuclear weapon given its past statements about eliminating the state of Israel. Netanyahu feels that the deal will not dismantle any facilities or centrifuges, and therefore not limiting Iran’s nuclear ambition in a significant way. Netanyahu continues that increased economic prosperity due to reduced economic sanctions will give Iran a solid monetary footing to fund its nuclear and military expansion, ultimately leading to a nuclear weapon and the destruction of Israel.
President Obama also acknowledged Iran’s statements regarding the destruction of Israel saying “We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk.” President Obama feels that the United States is powerful enough to test the proposed deal with Iran, regarding its nuclear program, in that the United States can put Iran in check if they exceed the bounds of the agreement.
I do agree with President Obama that compared to bombing Iranian facilities and simply hoping that sanctions will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the deal is the most promising option for peace with Iran and preventing more nuclear weapons. However, looking back historically, this situation seems to mimic that seen in Europe with the rise of Germany in the early 20th century. Germany continually pushed the bounds of what was allowed of them following post war agreements of WWI and repeatedly, no one put them in check. Appeasement policy was tried in the case of early 20th century Germany and proved to be a monumental disaster, leading to WWII, the ramifications of which forever changed the world. Iran has already pushed its limits with nuclear research by not being cooperative with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For example, say Iran breaks the deal and immediately develops a nuclear weapon; what action will be taken? President Obama say military action is still “on the table” but how? Military action could lead to nuclear war if Iran had a nuclear weapon. Economic sanctions have proven to have had little effect in slowing down Iran and another possible outcome; would Iran sell nuclear weapons to terrorist groups acting in Iran’s interest? I would like to think that Iran’s intentions are noble but it is very difficult to trust a nation that, at its highest levels of government, expressed a desire to eliminate Israel and also gave pushback on previous nuclear verification attempts by the IEEA to ensure Iran was not outstepping its bounds with its nuclear research. Which is what was clearly seen with the underground facilities and testing seen in the past decade. President Obama has assured that the plan will rely primarily on verification rather than trust but reaching a deal by late June that can account for all loopholes seems ambitious to say the least. I also feel that it is an excessively arrogant, and irresponsible statement to make that “We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk.” This sounds like blatant disregard for the lives of the men and women who are called upon to defend our nation and its allies if the deal with Iran is broken. President Obama and the other members of the committee in charge of seeing this deal through need to tread very lightly and be very careful not to make any promises that they are unable to keep as well as to not overlook any key details that could allow Iran a loophole to attaining, developing, or selling a nuclear weapon or the technology required to create a nuclear weapon. I see no reason that Iran should not be permitted to pursue nuclear energy for the purposes of an alternative energy source but in no way do I want to see nuclear weapons proliferation continue in the Middle East or any other part of the world.