The Iran Deal: Why is it bad? How should we move forward?

“This is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

These were the words spoken by Prime Minister Netanyahu in his controversial speech to the United States Congress four months ago. Yet it seems that with every day that passes by, his words become truer and truer.

First, let’s establish and explain why this agreement is so dangerous.

1) Inspections that were once described as being “anywhere, anytime” are now revealed to only be “somewhere, sometimes.” And as for the few facilities the UN is allowed to inspect, Iran will receive 24 days notice before each inspection takes place. That’s more than enough time for Iran to rid each facility of any suspicious material.

2) Under the terms of this agreement, all nuclear weapons facilities in Iran will remain open and active. Not a single site will be shut down and Iran will not be required to dismantle anything.

3) The UN arms embargo will be lifted, allowing for Iran to sell weapons to any terrorist group of its choosing. If the P5+1 insists that this deal only focuses on Iran’s nuclear weapons program and not on terrorism, why on earth is this arms embargo being lifted?

4) This deal’s restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will expire in one decade, during which Iran is allowed to continue spinning advanced centrifuges and reprocessing plutonium for a bomb. Its breakout time at the end of this deal will be zero, according to President Obama’s estimate.

5) The sanctions relief that Iran receives throughout this agreement will be used to pump up its global terror machine. It puts many countries at higher risk to become the next victims of Iran’s militia.

6) It will spark a nuclear arms race, not just in the Middle East, but among all countries who are signatories to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty, including Cuba and Venezuela. By learning from Iran’s example, many rogue regimes will find that violating the NPT can be quite rewarding.

Now that we’ve established why this deal is bad, we’re left with one big question:

What do we do now?

Well, the bad news is that it’s a done deal and it cannot be overturned. The good news is that under the Corker-Cardin compromise law, the United States Congress has the power to keep in place most American-imposed sanctions against Iran. This can only be achieved through a majority of two-thirds in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate. Otherwise, the White House will surely veto the vote, and lift all sanctions.

The only way that such a large voting majority could be possible is if Senator Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic Leader, along with Congressman Steny Hoyer, the current House Democratic Whip, both vote against the deal. Democrats in the Senate will be looking carefully at Schumer to determine their own votes, and Democrats in the House will be looking carefully at Hoyer to determine their own votes.

Schumer has been very tough on Iran in recent times and has remained mostly loyal to his largely Jewish constituency in New York. While he also has close ties to the White House, it’s hard to imagine that he would vote against the will of those who elected him, especially since he’s up for re-election next year. But if he does vote in favor of the deal, you can bet that almost all the Senate Democrats will vote the same way.

Hoyer has also been very tough on Iran in recent times, and has close ties to the White House, while maintaining a friendly relationship with AIPAC and with the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, where he’s leading a delegation next month. It’s expected that in their meeting, Netanyahu will press Hoyer to vote against the deal, but Hoyer remains undecided. And most Democrats in the House will vote the way he will, whether it’s for or against the deal.

If both Schumer and Hoyer are on board to vote against the deal, then there’s a good possibility that most American-imposed sanctions will remain in place, at least for now. But that depends on how convinced the two men are that this deal is flawed.

The next step would be for Israel to look for ways to strengthen its intelligence cooperation with the Arab States in the region, who share the common threat of Iran. If Israelis and Arabs present a united front against Tehran, then we might be able to thwart off a nuclear capable Iran for the next few years or so.

The final step would be to strengthen Israel’s military relationship with the United States. As has been suggested by numerous members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, the Pentagon should immediately transfer advanced bunker-busters to Israel, to be used if Iran violates the deal. 

While the White House and State Department would likely oppose such a move at the moment, they might feel obligated over time, to give Israel a nice “reconciliation package.” The Obama Administration will likely try to condition this reconciliation package on further Israeli concessions on the Palestinian conflict, which would place a stumbling block on this weapons transfer.

At the end of the day, we cannot undo what has aleady been done. And sadly, this deal seems to be irreversible. Therefore, the best steps to take would be explain why the deal is bad, keep as many sanctions as possible, and strengthen Israel’s military. This will be the best possible way to move forward.

About the Author
David Aaronson is a senior communications advisor to Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United States. He is currently studying for a degree in political science from Yeshiva University.
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