Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Bad – and Necessary

| Oct. 13, 2017

North Korea is the proverbial horse that has broken the stable door, but, thanks to the Iran nuclear agreement, the Iranian horse remains in the barn. The US should be attempting to corral the defiant North Korea, not giving Iran a reason to break out, too.

TEL AVIV – US President Donald Trump is poised to decertify the nuclear agreement with Iran, launching a process by which the US Congress could re-impose sanctions on the country. Fortunately, it seems likely that Congress, rather than pulling the plug on the deal, will seek some alternative that allows Trump to save face with his supporters, to whom he has long promised US withdrawal from the Iran deal. Nonetheless, decertification would be a serious mistake.

Like many Israelis, I agree with Trump that the international agreement reached with Iran in 2015 is fundamentally a bad deal. But it is also a done deal. Even if the United States does decide to withdraw from it completely, none of the other parties – not China or Russia or even the Europeans (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom) – will follow suit. Iran would continue to reap the agreement’s benefits.

At the same time, however, Iran could view the US decision to renege on the deal as justification for reviving its halted nuclear program. After all, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act authorizes the US president to decertify the deal if Iran violates its terms. And, at least technically, Iran has done no such thing.

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For Academic Citation: Barak, Ehud.“The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Bad – and Necessary.” Project Syndicate, October 13, 2017.