May 9, 2018
A Courageous Trump Call on a Lousy Iran Deal – Bret Stephens
“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and it is not a signed document,” Julia Frifield, then the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, wrote in 2015. The Obama administration refused to submit the nuclear deal with Iran to Congress as a treaty, knowing it would never get 2/3 of the Senate to go along. Just 21% of Americans approved of the deal at the time it went through, against 49% who did not, according to a Pew poll. The agreement “passed” on the strength of a 42-vote filibuster, against bipartisan, majority opposition.
The deal weakened UN prohibitions on Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, which cannot be reversed without Russian and Chinese consent. That won’t happen. The easing of sanctions also gave Tehran additional financial means with which to fund its depredations in Syria and its militant proxies in Yemen, Lebanon and elsewhere. Any effort to counter Iran on the ground in these places would mean fighting the very forces we are effectively feeding. Why not just stop the feeding?
The goal is to put Iran’s rulers to a fundamental choice. They can opt to have a functioning economy, free of sanctions and open to investment, at the price of permanently, verifiably and irreversibly forgoing a nuclear option and abandoning their support for terrorists. Or they can pursue their nuclear ambitions at the cost of economic ruin and possible war. But they are no longer entitled to a sweetheart deal of getting sanctions lifted first, retaining their nuclear options for later, and sponsoring terrorism throughout. (New York Times)