2015/04/13

PA Senator on nuclear deal with Iran

In "Have a vote on Iran deal," Senator Toomey states: "President Obama wants to remove American economic sanctions from Iran in exchange for Iran's promises to delay its pursuit of nuclear weapons."

Incorrect. The outline of the deal so far calls upon Iran to freeze their development of a nuclear weapon, not to simply delay it. Yes, the deal is for "only" ten years, but the deal can easily be renewed or extended. It is highly premature to state that development will pick up where it left off upon the expiration of the ten-year period.  

"Can Iran be trusted to keep any deal?" Negotiations on a basic framework took as long as they did precisely because both sides mistrust each other and both sides wanted to make verification as foolproof and as airtight as possible. 

Let's consider the list of charges that Toomey makes: that allegedly demonstrate that we're settling for far too little: 1. That Obama previously said he wouldn't anything less than complete dismantlement of Iran's nuclear program, 2. That the US and UN both previously insisted that Iran must surrender all of its centrifuges, 3. That Iran must ship all of its enriched uranium out of the country, and 4. That the facility at Fordham was supposed to be destroyed.

Why would the US and its negotiating partners have decided to not press for any of these? Obviously, because these objectives were going much too far for the leverage we had and pushing for complete victory would have left us with fists holding empty air.

Yes, sanctions got Iran to the table, but other nations are perfectly happy to cancel those sanctions, deal or no. Senate interference that insists on going for maximalist objectives will simply give Europe and China and Russia an excuse to discard sanctions and resume trade. Sanctions have limited effectiveness and we have a limited time period in which to use them. 

What Senator Toomey appears to want to do is to use a limited tool that's only of so much use as though it was an unlimited tool that will effortlessly achieve everything we want. Failing that, Toomey seems perfectly willing to discard the deal framework that Obama has so painstakingly built and to simply go back to square #1, with absolutely nothing having been achieved.

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