The Iran Deal

There is no doubt that the 14 July 2015 agreement between Iran and the world powers negotiated over the last few years is set to enable Iran to be able to possess a nuclear weapons arsenal and to become a regional hegemonic power. It will enable Iran to do so legally. The agreement also relinquishes Iran of economic hardships without forcing it to change its rogue policies and prevent it from making bellicose statements against Israel.

Iran is legally provided through the agreement with the capability to produce a nuclear arsenal, which it can do slowly within the next 10 – 15 years. Such a capability includes the production of fissile material, its weaponization, acquiring delivery systems, and improved military capabilities to protect the military nuclear program. It would be impossible for anyone to stop this program once underway given that the agreement permits Iran to be threshold with a very short time required to become an actual nuclear power.

On the other side of the agreement, the world powers have only been given a questionable and scarcely believable Iranian commitment to avoid producing arms and some limited restrictions on its nuclear program for 10 – 15 years. So the world, including Israel, will have to rely upon Iran’s word and honor. They only have the word and honor of the current, but not future leadership, that Iran will not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons. Considering the manner in which leadership changes in the region it would be naive to rely on this word. Further Iran has a past record of concealing its nuclear activities and its leadership often make declarations of hostility against Israel and America.

So there is no doubt in my mind that the agreement grants Iran everything but Iran doesn’t reciprocate. What remains is to decide if military force could have been an option to ensure that Iran would be further away from its goals and whether military force is still an option. The former is debatable but the later is still an option. Accurate intelligence of where Iran is developing its capability and a credible threat of military force will ensure a deterrent to prevent Iran from going over the nuclear threshold.

However this is only one element regarding Iran. Iran will continue to support militant activities against Israel and ferment strife in the Sunni-Shia dispute, including against Saudi Arabia. Iran being a threshold state will result in other states wishing also to be threshold, particularly Saudi Arabia. So the 14 July 2015 agreement only serves as a very short term temporary measure and may result in heightening regional insecurity. Hence the only option is to immediately remove all nuclear capability in Iran and stop its program of developing delivery systems whether by agreement or by military means.

About the Author
Dr Glen Segell is Fellow at the Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies, University of Haifa.