The Obama administration insisted for months that Republican opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal was pure political partisanship. They called their detractors Chicken Littles, running around spreading fear that had no basis in fact. They assured us that the deal would keep Iran from building a nuclear arsenal, improve the Islamic Republic’s standing in the international community, and help stabilize the Middle East.
A new report from the Foreign Policy Initiative, published a year after the deal was signed, demonstrates conclusively just how far from reality those promises were. Ever compared advertisement photos of a Big Mac to the real thing? It’s kinda like that. Except, of course, there’s little reason to suspect that a sloppily-made Big Mac could lead to worldwide catastrophe.
The deal’s stated function is to keep Iran from pursuing atomic weaponry. Obama’s mantra has been “distrust and verify.” According to him and John Kerry, the deal will make it impossible for Iran to violate the contract without the U.S. and the U.N. knowing about it. As it happens, however, there are loopholes in the deal that undermine this promise. Astonishingly, Iran is allowed to self-inspect certain military sites; those sites remain off-limits to international inspectors. What could go wrong?
The idea that this deal would take Iran from rogue state to cooperative ally was ridiculous from the start, and the nation has done everything possible to tell the world that it’s not about to play nice with the West. “Death to America” remains a national rallying cry. The capture of U.S. Navy sailors was a stunning thumb in the eye. And the country continues to violate ballistic-missile bans, sending them up with messages of Israeli destruction written on the sides. This is not a country that wants to hold hands and move together into the future.
Obama has maintained that Iran’s role as the largest state sponsor of terrorism is to be watched and sanctioned separately from the nuclear deal. But the deal itself filled Iran’s coffers with billions of dollars that have undoubtedly been used to support organizations like Hezbollah – sworn enemies of Israel. There is no “snap-back” that can take that money away.
Diplomacy only works when both sides are working towards a mutually-agreeable future. This Iran deal isn’t diplomacy; it’s a show. Not a very entertaining one…but it could have a hell of a third act.