August 18, 2015 | Quote

A Better Iran Deal is Possible

Former senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), experts such as Robert Satloff and now sanctions guru Mark Dubowitz make the case that a better Iran deal is doable, but only if Congress votes down President Obama’s deal. After reviewing the deal’s numerous and serious deficiencies, Dubowitz writes:

“There is ample precedent to amend the deal. Congress has required amendments to more than 200 treaties before receiving Senate consent, including significant bilateral Cold War arms control agreements with the Soviets like the Threshold Test Ban Treaty and the Peaceful Nuclear Explosions Treaty, as well as multilateral agreements like the Chemical Weapons Convention negotiated with 87 participating countries, including Iran, by President Bill Clinton. And it’s not just Republicans putting up obstacles. During the Cold War, Democratic senators like Henry Jackson withstood pressure from Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger who insisted that the deals they negotiated go unchanged. This all happened at a time when Moscow had thousands of nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at America.”

Three scenarios would be possible, he says. “In the first scenario, Iran could decide to implement its commitments in good faith despite congressional disapproval in order to trigger substantial and automatic U.N. and EU sanctions relief coming to them under the terms of the agreement.” This assumes Iran badly needs sanctions relief and is willing to put constraints on itself without getting something concrete from the United States. Alternatively, “In a second scenario, the Iranians abandon their commitments under the agreement, but don’t rush to break out toward a nuclear weapon. Iran would get none of the benefits of sanctions relief but would try to exploit the congressional disapproval domestically, claiming that it was wronged by the United States.” It also would not incur an Israeli military strike. Finally, “In a third scenario, the Iranians exploit the temporary confusion of a congressional disapproval to divide the P5+1. . . . The key for Congress and the White House will be to use diplomatic persuasion and U.S. financial sanctions to keep the Europeans out of Iran. America has that leverage now, before Europe rushes to reenter the Iranian market; relying on snap back sanctions to get the Europeans out again is a weak play.”

Dubowitz does not consider the potential that Iran will race to breakout — and for good reason. Iran’s participation in the talks shows us that Iran wants to get the bomb without risking its regime (by military strength). So long as it can cajole the West, keep its infrastructure in place and rebuild its economy, it can be patient. If it would try to make a dash, it would face the threat of military action from Israel, and theoretically from the United States. Iran was not willing to pursue that risky proposition and with the potential to get partial sanctions relief, there is no reason to believe it would do so. Ironically, “war” (as in “this deal or war”) is the most far-fetched scenario.

Read the full article here.  


Iran Iran Sanctions