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Extend The Iran Nuclear Deal – Don’t End It!

by Trick Nixon (Principles: None) - 3 month ago

Killing the Iran deal will lead directly to Iran becoming a nuclear power. There will be no “replace” if we “repeal” the deal. We must fix it instead.

For the third time in his brief Presidency, Donald Trump must decide whether or not to certify the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor. For the third time, he must weigh his campaign promise to blow up this “horrible” deal on “day one” against the consequences of removing the only impediment to Iran going full speed ahead on developing nuclear weapons. Making it harder for him to do the right thing are the critics outside the government who are absolutely certain, CERTAIN! that they know the right course.

Chief among those critics is former U.N. Ambassador, and possible future Secretary of State, John Bolton. Mr. Bolton doesn’t mince words. He states that “Trump can and should free America from this execrable deal at the earliest opportunity.”   

Bolton, of course, is not the only one making this argument but because of his history with North Korea, he is by far the most interesting. In 2001, Bolton was appointed by Bush 44 to be the U.S. Under Secretary of State in charge of Arms Control. At the time a nuclear “Framework” was in place in which North Korea had frozen their plutonium-based weapons program. Then, as now, Bolton thought that the deal in place was contrary to U.S. interests. When news reports came out that North Korea was separately moving forward on enriching uranium he said that “this was the hammer I had been looking for to shatter the Agreed Framework.” And shatter it he did – with the willing cooperation of the North Koreans.

We’ll never know if continuing negotiations with North Korea would have produced a better result but it’s hard to imagine that they could have produced a worse result. North Korea drew the only possible lesson from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and that lesson was that they needed to develop his nuclear program as quickly as possible. By the time Barack Obama became President, North Korea had joined the ranks of nuclear nations and things have only deteriorated since.

And now Bolton wants to bring to Iran, the same catastrophic approach that he brought to North Korea. What he, and I fear Trump, don’t understand is that it is totally irrelevant whether or not the initial deal was in the U.S. interest.   What is relevant today are the facts currently on the ground. We have an agreement that has temporarily stopped Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. If we try to reinstitute sanctions in order “to get a better deal,” history is very clear as to what will happen. First, we won’t be able to reinstitute the same level of sanctions as before. Second, Iran will race ahead and, with direct aid from North Korea, join the nuclear club in a very short time.

There’s a better answer. It is true that the deal allows Iran to resume their nuclear program in 13 years. However, the deal also allows the U.S. and the world to re-impose crippling sanctions if they do.  Let’s use the leverage we have to extend the deal and, maybe, just maybe, fix some of the flaws in the current arrangement.  Alternatively we can listen to the main architect of the North Korea catastrophe, walk out on the deal, and watch helplessly as the number 1 sponsor of world terrorism develops nuclear weapons. 

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