Six Strikes against the Nuclear Deal with Iran
Perspectives Paper No. 301
July 15, 2015
SUMMARY: The very bad agreement reached yesterday between the Western powers and
Iran underscores the weakness of the US; grants Iran nuclear legitimacy; spurs
nuclear proliferation in the region; bolsters Iran’s ability to project force
and support terrorism; changes the balance of power in the region in favor of
Iran; and brings the US into sharp conflict with Israel, leading perhaps to an
Israeli military strike on Iran.
are (at least) six significant and immediate bad results from the agreement
reached yesterday between the Western powers and Iran.
America the weak: The way in which the negotiations were conducted
underscored the weakness of the US. The Obama administration was willing to
offer almost unlimited concessions to the skillful Iranian negotiators, ignoring
all its own deadlines and red lines. It is clear that President Obama was
desperate for a deal in order to leave office with a ”legacy.”
Washington congratulates itself on a “successful” result, what counts is the
perceptions of the countries in the region. Alas, all countries in the region
can only conclude that America is indeed weak. America has capitulated to Iran.
Nuclear legitimacy: Instead of insisting on the dismantling of all uranium
enrichment facilities in Iran, as was accomplished in Libya, the US actually
accorded international legitimacy to a large-scale Iranian 2. nuclear
infrastructure, including thousands of centrifuges. The deal leaves almost
intact all central components of the Iranian nuclear program.
Secretary of State John Kerry has in fact admitted that Iran might be just three
months away from a nuclear bomb within the framework of the nuclear agreement.
In doing so, the US has totally ignored UN Security Council Resolution 1696 of
July 2006, which demanded that Iran suspend enrichment activities, as well as
American demands for the dismantlement of the nuclear facilities.
Proliferation: This agreement is a stimulus for nuclear proliferation.
Saudi Arabia has announced its desire for “the same type of infrastructure”
that has been allowed to Iran. It is to be expected that countries such as Egypt
and Turkey will emulate Saudi Arabia. These states share Iranian ambitions for a
leadership role in the region and it is highly unlikely they will refrain from
acquiring capabilities that match Iran’s.
the regional nuclear race has already begun and a multi-polar nuclear Middle
East is on the way. This is a strategic nightmare.
American attempt to provide a nuclear umbrella (“extended deterrence”) to
the Gulf States in order to forestall nuclear proliferation already has failed.
Saudi King Salman refused to attend the US-Gulf State summit. This reflects
disappointment with what Washington had to offer, and signals Saudi intentions
to try to take care of itself on its own.
Force projection and terrorism: The international sanctions regime
against Iran already has eroded. States and businesses already are lining-up to
capitalize on the economic opportunities emerging in the Iranian market.
unfreezing of Iranian bank accounts and the projected increase in oil production
will enrich the coffers of the Iranian regime with more than $100 billion. This
will allow the diversion of many resources to an Iranian arms build-up, and will
buttress Tehran’s aspiration to project force far beyond its borders.
Moreover, the cash influx enhances Iranian capability for supporting proxies,
such as the Shiite-controlled government in Iraq, Assad’s regime in Syria,
Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and the Huties in Yemen. The Iranian
capacity for subversion and for exporting terror will be greatly magnified.
Balance of power: The American decision to accept Iran as a nuclear-threshold
state, and Obama’s statements in favor of a “responsible Iranian role” in
the region, accompanied by an inflated American threat perception of ISIS –
signal a most significant change in American Middle East foreign policy. This
accord marks an end to Iran’s regional isolation.
America seems to be siding with the Shiites against Sunnis. This move changes
dramatically the regional balance of power, instilling even greater uncertainty
in regional politics.
naïve American belief that Iran can become a “normal” state – will
backfire. While cautious, Iran is nevertheless a “revisionist” power trying
to undermine the status quo. It does not hide its hegemonic aspirations. Its
subversive activities in Shiite Bahrain and the Shiite eastern province of Saudi
Arabia (where most of the oil is), and in other Gulf countries, might create an
unbearable situation for the West. Eventually, Iran might even attain its
declared goal of putting an end to the American presence in the Persian Gulf.
Conflict with Israel: American policy is now on a collision course with Israel.
The consensus in Israel is that Obama signed a very bad deal, which is dangerous
for the Middle East and well beyond it. Israelis, as well as most Middle
Easterners, do not buy the promise of a moderate Iran. They know better.
Israelis take seriously the calls of the Iranian mobs “Death to America. Death
an Israeli military strike on Iran has become more likely, and in the near
future – before the US puts the brakes on military supplies to the Israeli
Efraim Inbar, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, is the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.