By Laurence A. Marder
Within hours of the announcement of a deal with Iran, pro-Israel organizations led by AIPAC condemned the agreement and called upon Congress to reject the deal. Over the ensuing weeks, significant and valid objections have been raised.
For example, many of the constraints on Iran begin to lift after only 10 years, when the reduced number of centrifuges can begin to increase; and in 15 years, the stockpile restrictions on enriched uranium can increase. Further, numerous conventional arms limitation, particularly in the area of missile capability, will be lifted in less than 10 years. The end result is that the agreement risks delaying, but not preventing, Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state.
Secondly, Iran gets not only sanctions relief for compliance, but also a release of frozen assets. Many rightfully suspect this will enable Iran to enhance its support of terror networks such as Hezbollah. Iran remains unbowed and sees itself as the winner of the negotiations.
In short, this deal is deeply flawed. It should be denounced as such.
But we do have a deal that prevents (to a reasonable probability) a nuclear Iran for up to 15 years and arguably much longer. If we are to oppose it, we are obligated to analyze with proper depth, what comes next.
It appears that AIPAC has inadequately made the case for the benefits congressional rejection will provide.
Here is what has been offered so far: Rejection will lead to a “better deal.”
This is the hope, but what is the path that takes us to this conclusion? Is there the risk rejection actually benefits Iran? What if the sanctions crumble or if the P5+1 refuse to back a toughened negotiation position? If either event occurs, Iran’s position is enhanced, and we may lose the advantages of the deal we had (monitoring, extension of breakout times, no economic leverage, etc.).
Lastly, if a better deal fails to emerge and Iran proceeds with nuclear-weapons activity, we may face the prospect of military action. The irony is that numerous American and Israeli intelligence reports (that have been made public) conclude that military strikes on nuclear-research facilities and reactors will only buy the world two or three years.
Does AIPAC favor military action when the Iranian deal gives us a longer time line?
AIPAC has the resources to lead us. It should provide the evidence in logic and fact (if available) to prove that rejection will lead to a better outcome.
Yes, the Iran deal is flawed and dangerous for both Israel and the U.S.
But rejection opens the door to uncertain and unmanageable risks. Any organization that asks Congress to oppose this deal should assume the obligation to teach us the benefits of rejection and not only the problems with approval. We have only a few weeks left. Please answer the call.