Iran's nuclear talks: Five reasons why a deal would be good for the U.S.
The author reviews and debunks some of the common arguments made against the Iranian nuclear deal, arguing that "it would be a strategic mistake of Iraq War proportions to let this opportunity slip out of our hands."
Moreover, the deal will prevent a war with Iran -- particularly important given that the absence of a solution to the nuclear standoff has caused the U.S. and Iran to gravitate towards a military confrontation.
If the talks fail -- or are undermined -- Iran's nuclear program would unshackle, enabling Tehran to inch closer to a weapons option. That in turn, would increase the risk of an Israeli or American attack on Iranian targets, even though bombing the country's nuclear facilities would at best only slow the program a few years.
The Iranians would hit back and soon enough, and the U.S. would be embroiled in yet another war in the Middle East with no end in sight. No wonder the Iran deal has broad support among the U.S. public.
Third, the deal will help unleash Iran's vibrant, young (the median age is 28!) and moderate society, which is continuously pushing Iran in a democratic direction. The deal enjoys solid support among the Iranian public as well as among Iranian civil society leaders, partly because they believe the deal "would enable political and cultural reforms."
America benefits if the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people are increasingly met, because a more democratic Iran is a more moderate Iran.
This is particularly important at a time when the violent winds of religious radicalism are ravaging the Middle East and beyond. America is in desperate need of an injection of political moderation in the region. An Iran that moves towards democracy could provide that.
Fourth, ISIS and other jihadist groups threaten both Iran and the U.S. Yet coordination and collaboration between the two against these violent terrorist organizations has been minimal because neither side has the political ability to expand coordination until the nuclear dispute has been settled first.
A well-placed Iranian source told me recently that in a post-deal environment, Iran is ready to put in 40,000-60,000 ground troops to eliminate ISIS over the next three years. Ideally, the U.S. would provide air support, he explained. The source made clear the commitment would not be a quid pro quo to get a nuclear deal.
If true, this would be the first commitment of ground troops by any state in the region to take on ISIS. But even short of this, Iran has already provided more support in the fight against ISIS thanany of America's actual allies.
There is near-consensus that airstrikes alone will not defeat ISIS. Ground troops are needed, but who will provide them? The American public is certainly not in the mood for putting more troops on the ground in Iraq. The Iraqi army has proven desperately inadequate. The nuclear deal may help square this circle.