A Response To Attacks On The Iran Nuclear Deal

Daniel Larison responded to attacks on the Iran deal at The American Conservative, Here is a portion:

Ending the deal now because of Iran’s brief flirtation with nuclear weapons research that ended a decade and a half ago makes no sense. Iran is doing everything that it is required to do now to limit its nuclear program, and that is what should matter most for those genuinely concerned to keep Iran’s nuclear program peaceful. Only someone looking for the slightest excuse to blow up the deal regardless of the consequences would want to scrap an agreement that is working because of “revelations” that revealed nothing new.

Stephens gives the game away at the end of his column when he is talking about threatening to start a war:

“Punitive sanctions combined with a credible threat of military force should follow.”

If punitive sanctions and threats of military action follow, we should expect Iran to resume some or all of the activities that it stopped as part of the agreement. There is a remote but real possibility that Iran could leave the NPT all together in a major setback for the cause of nonproliferation. Now that we are faced with a nuclear-armed North Korea, opponents of the nuclear deal would like to repeat the Bush administration’s North Korea mistakes with Iran.

Punitive sanctions would have little effect without international support, and reneging on an agreement endorsed by the U.N. Security Council and supported by all of the other P5+1 governments will guarantee that no international support for a new sanctions regime will be forthcoming. Military action would be worse than useless, since it would drive Iran to build the very weapons that it is supposed to discourage them from building. Reneging on the deal because of old and irrelevant information would be an exceptionally stupid thing to do, and it would put the U.S. and Iran back on the collision course we were on a decade ago. That is exactly why Iran hawks want to wreck the deal, and they all but admit it in their own arguments.

Housekeeping Note

Posting will be down the next few days while I am out of town (more on Saturday), but I do have some brief items which will be posted. This includes SciFi Weekend. An abbreviated post will probably be done on Monday.