July 14, 2015 | Quote
How a Republican President Could Kill the Iran Deal
If the next president hates the nuclear deal with Iran, he (or she) can undo it after taking office.
The dilemma: Do it with blunt force? Or go for a soft kill?
The accord reached this week in Vienna promises broad sanctions relief to Iran in exchange for significant curbs on its nuclear program. The agreement has taken years to negotiate, involves seven countries as well as the European Union and the United Nations, and relies upon the expertise of scientists as well as diplomats.
But at the end of the day, the “deal” is at most a political arrangement — not a treaty or other form of signed legal document.
That means that the presidential candidates who have threatened to cancel the deal — so far all of them Republicans — can keep their promise by using the presidency’s executive authority to reimpose suspended U.S. sanctions on Iran and withdrawing from panels involved in implementing the accord.
“You say it’s a bad deal, but you don’t just rip up the deal,” said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Dubowitz said it’s critical that the U.S. sanctions target in particular the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the powerful military unit that controls a large chunk of the Iranian economy and is behind much of the country’s interference in other states. At the same time that the U.S. is adding sanctions, it should remind the international business community of the riskiness of doing business in Iran, Dubowitz added.
Dubowitz, one of the most vocal skeptics of the Iran talks, insisted that if he were president his goal wouldn’t be to outright destroy a deal but to try to ensure that Iran never achieves nuclear weapons capability.
He doubts the current deal does that because, he says, Iran will be able to expand its economic might as sanctions fade, making it even easier for it to resume nuclear activity once restrictions on its program start to drop off after the first 10 years of the agreement.
So he envisions a 10-year timeline to strengthen America’s hand against Iran, one that would involve a U.S. president laying the groundwork for his successor and making some new demands from Iran. The president could insist, for instance, that if within five years U.N. inspectors cannot verify that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful, then the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities that would have dropped off after year 10 would stay on.
“There’s always a quicker way, but the question is, ‘Is there a smarter way to accomplish your objective’?” Dubowitz said. ““I hope all our candidates are thoughtful in how they deal with what I think is increasingly an incredibly difficult situation for the next president to handle. This deal is going to leave the next president with an excruciatingly difficult decision: either to accept an Iranian bomb or to bomb Iran.”
Read the full article here.