Nuclear deal failed to reach best results because Obama administration failed to make the threat of force credible
If military capacity were all that mattered, Iran would never have dared to build the full-scale uranium enrichment capacity that it now possesses. Intentions matter as well, however, and here the Iranian leaders have calculated—correctly—that the American government would not use its military trump card to halt Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons. As President, Barack Obama repeatedly asserted that, where that program was concerned “all options”—including, by inference, the use of force—were on the table, but the mullahs rightly surmised that this was a bluff and, by continuing to build the enrichment program that Obama had vowed not to tolerate, they called it. This is the sense in which the Obama Administration’s description of the deal as the best one available is correct. Given that it was negotiating from a position of self-imposed weakness, it is difficult to see how it could have obtained more favorable terms than the ones embedded in the July 14 agreement.