What a Final Iran Deal Must Do – Henry A. Kissinger and George P. Shultz (Wall Street Journal)
For 35 years and continuing today, Iran has been advocating an anti-Western concept of world order, waging proxy wars against America and its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and beyond, and arming and training sectarian extremists throughout the Muslim world. During that time, Iran has defied unambiguous UN and IAEA demands and proceeded with a major nuclear effort, incompatible with any exclusively civilian purpose, and in violation of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The heart of the problem is Iran’s construction of a massive nuclear infrastructure and stockpile of enriched uranium far out of proportion to any plausible civilian energy-production rationale.
Under the interim agreement, Iranian conduct that was previously condemned as illegal and illegitimate has effectively been recognized as a baseline, including an acceptance of Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium (to 5%).
Not surprisingly, the Iranian negotiator described the agreement as giving Iran its long-claimed right to enrich and, in effect, eliminating the American threat of using force as a last resort. In these circumstances, the major American negotiating leverage risks losing its edge. This risk will be enhanced if the impression takes hold that the U.S. has already decided to reorient its Middle East policy toward rapprochement with Iran.
We should be open to the possibility of pursing an agenda of long-term cooperation. But not without Iran dismantling or mothballing a strategically significant portion of its nuclear infrastructure.
We must avoid an outcome in which Iran, freed from sanctions, emerges as a de facto nuclear power leading an Islamist camp, while traditional allies lose confidence in the credibility of American commitments and follow the Iranian model toward a nuclear-weapons capability, if only to balance it.
Mr. Kissinger is a former U.S. secretary of state (1973-77); Mr. Shultz is a former U.S. secretary of state (1982-89).