5 Reasons AIPAC Is Dead Wrong about the Iran Deal
The author critiques the five reasons that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is urging rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal and argues that their recommendation to reject it in favor of a better deal is "reckless and irresponsible."
AIPAC’s July 15 statement also claims that the JCPOA “threatens the future of the nuclear non-proliferation regime” and will set off a nuclear arms race in the region.
In reality, the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal will strengthen the nonproliferation regime, and head off a regional nuclear arms race. The JCPOA demonstrates the strength of the nonproliferation regime. It shows that attempts to violate the treaty will be detected and that there are consequences for noncompliance.
In addition to the severe economic constraints Iran has faced from the sanctions regime, Iran's limited nuclear program will be subject to restrictions and monitoring beyond the requirements of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. A limited, highly monitored Iranian nuclear program poses far less of a threat to the region than an unconstrained program. Without the JPOA, Saudi Arabia would be more likely to hedge its nuclear bets.
The United States, and other nuclear supplier states, can and will continue to employ other measures to discourage the proliferation of uranium enrichment technology to the volatile Middle East.
UN sanctions will only be suspended if and when Iran fully explains and answers questions regarding its past activities with possible military dimensions (PMD), and the IAEA verifies that it has completed other major nuclear nonproliferation and transparency steps. Under the final nuclear deal, Iran has agreed to provide the information and access the IAEA needs to complete its investigation by October 15th. If Iran meets that deadline, the IAEA aims to deliver its assessment of that information by December 15. Until Iran cooperates with the IAEA on this matter, the UN Security Council sanctions and other sanctions will remain in place.
With the cooperation from Iran on the PMD issues that is required by the JCPOA, the IAEA will have more information with which to inform its monitoring and verification strategies in the future.
What is most irresponsible of AIPAC is its recommendation that Congress reject the JCPOA and “urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal.”
That is a dangerous fantasy. The alternative to the effective P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran that has been negotiated is no deal. AIPAC’s course of action would condemn the United States, our friends in Israel, and the entire region to a dangerous future.
If the United States Congress rejects this deal, and blocks its implementation:
- The United States would undercut its European allies and other UNSC members,
- The necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions would melt away,
- Iran would be able to rapidly and significantly expand its capacity to produce weapons-grade material,
- The United States would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons effort, and
- The risk of a nuclear-armed Iran and the risk of a war over Iran’s program would increase.
On balance, P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal is a strong, effectively verifiable, long-term agreement and AIPAC’s critique of it and its alternative recommendations, are deeply flawed.