By Jay Bernstein
In his Aug. 21 From This View column (“Iran Deal: The Risks of Rejection”), Laurence Marder bemoans the failure of opponents of the Iran deal to make the case for the benefits provided by congressional rejection, which he claims will instead “open the door to uncertain and unmanageable risks.”
Undoubtedly, a decision by Congress to reject the Iran deal is not without risks. Risk is inherent in foreign policy, and certainly U.S. policy toward Iran is no exception.
Since no one can predict the future, it is within the realm of possibility that, as Marder speculates, rejection of the deal could cause the sanctions program to collapse and Iran to push to obtain a nuclear weapon. It is equally possible that some American allies will maintain sanctions against Iran or that the unilateral imposition of sanctions by the United States will secure a better deal. It is also possible that Iran will avoid pursuing “breakout” to a bomb in order to avoid the imposition of further sanctions or a military response by the West.
However, the issue facing Congress is not whether rejecting the Iran deal poses risks or even whether bad things might happen if the deal is rejected. Rather, the question is whether the potential and unknown adverse consequences of rejecting the deal are greater than the undisputed and known adverse consequences of approving a deal.
Accepting the deal will result in at least two adverse consequences, both of which Marder acknowledges in his article. First, because the deal leaves almost all of Iran’s extensive nuclear infrastructure intact and imposes restrictions on various aspects of Iran’s nuclear program that expire in as little as 10 to 15 years, approval of the deal legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program and enables it to become a nuclear threshold state.
Second, because the deal provides Iran with near-immediate sanctions relief in the form of the release of billions of dollars in assets, approval of the deal will allow Iran to pursue and accelerate its ongoing campaigns to expand its pernicious influence in the Middle East, to undermine America’s allies in the region and to finance international terrorism.
Add to the list the triggering of a Middle East nuclear arms race, the strengthening of the Iranian regime and the increased threat that will be faced by the State of Israel, and the conclusion is clear: Even if the results of rejecting the deal are uncertain, the adverse consequences of the deal as currently structured are so disturbing and catastrophic that rejecting the deal is by far the preferred course of action.
In just a few more weeks, the proposed deal with Iran will be presented to Congress for its vote. The time remaining should be expended on pressing our representatives in Congress for a deal that does not legitimize Iran as a nuclear threshold state, does not trade massive sanctions relief for temporary constraints and does not agree to concessions that will make the world a more dangerous place. Thesecurity of America, Israel and the world requires no less.