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U.S. Needs to Plan for the Day after an Iran Deal

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U.S. Needs to Plan for the Day after an Iran Deal – David H. Petraeus and Vance Serchuk
(dailyalert.org, Apr. 10, 2014)

In the aftermath of a negotiated settlement with Iran over its illicit nuclear activities, the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran would lead to the economic empowerment of a government that is the leading state sponsor of terrorism. Indeed, even under crippling sanctions, Iran has managed to provide robust support to extremist proxies as part of its broader geopolitical agenda across the Middle East and beyond – activities antithetical to U.S. interests and to those of our closest allies.

    While it is possible that a nuclear deal would pave the way to a broader detente in Iran’s relations with the U.S. and its neighbors, it is more plausible that removing sanctions would strengthen Tehran’s ability to project malign influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, the Arabian peninsula and the Palestinian territories. Rather than marking the end of our long struggle with Iran, therefore, a successful nuclear deal could result in the U.S. and our partners in the Middle East facing a better-resourced and, in some respects, more dangerous adversary.

    Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons ought to be our foremost priority, and a diplomatic agreement that truly bolts the door against that danger is worth potential downsides. But we need to recognize there are genuine trade-offs involved in even the best possible nuclear deal.

    Rather than freeing Washington to reduce the U.S. footprint in the Middle East and focus elsewhere, a nuclear agreement with Tehran is likely to compel us to deepen our military, diplomatic and intelligence presence in the region in order to help partners there balance against increasing Iranian power. David H. Petraeus is a former director of the CIA and a former commander of U.S. Central Command. Vance Serchuk is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. (Washington Post)

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