What If Iran Doesn’t Cheat?

Bibi Netanyahu seems to be of two minds about the nuclear agreement being negotiated with the Iranians.

Without knowing all the details because they remain to be worked out, he has already declared it a bad deal and he, his ambassador and AIPAC have been lobbying the Congress to block it.

Any deal with Tehran would be worthless, he argues persuasively, because Iranians are liars and cheats and won't keep their word. 

But what if they do keep their word?  That could be even worse, he seems to think. Ha'aretz reports the prime minister fears Iran will keep its commitments without violations.

Netanyahu told members of his security cabinet, according two unnamed "senior Israeli officials (often a euphemism for Netanyahu's aides)," that he feared the “Iranians will keep to every letter in the agreement if indeed one is signed at the end of June,” said Ha'aretz, and that would make renewed sanctions and long-term monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities nearly impossible.

One official reported: “Netanyahu said at the meeting that it would be impossible to catch the Iranians cheating simply because they will not break the agreement.”

If the Iranians honor their commitments and behave for the next 10 to 15 years, when the agreements are expected expire and most sanctions are removed, the PM reportedly believes "it will be very difficult if not impossible to persuade the world powers to keep up their monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program, not to mention imposing new sanctions if concerns arise that Iran has gone back to developing a secret nuclear program for military purposes," according to Haaretz.

Netanyahu's strategy remains blocking the agreement. He has little hope that the Obama administration will produce results to his liking, so he is working closely with friends in the Congress, particularly the Republican leadership, to kill the deal.

Obama mentioned his frustration with Netanyahu in a press conference in Panama City, Panama, on Saturday.

"The prime minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it [the deal]," Obama said. "I think he's made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked — what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that."

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.