Forging a Better Deal With Iran Is a Pipe Dream

Iran is a country of many contradictions.

On the one hand, Iran is a theocratic regime that persecutes homosexuals and Christian evangelists, imprisons journalists, and supports bad actors in the region. On the other hand, it educates women, fights ISIS, and democratically elects a Prime Minister on the platform of improving relations with the West.

Americans are understandably confused. But in all of the nuances and contradictions that constitute modern-day Iran, let's not lose sight of the fact that for the first time since Iran began its nuclear enrichment program decades ago, Iran has agreed to destroy 98% of its enriched uranium stockpile and half of its centrifuges.

What if they cheat, you say?

First of all, it's impossible to build a bomb after you've destroyed half of your centrifuges and 98% of your enriched uranium, but secondly, that's what the inspections are for. And while Americans understandably get hung up over the 24-day notice for non-declared sites, the reality is nuclear experts agree that it's impossible to hide nuclear weapons activity in 24 days. Why? Because uranium has a half-life of millions of years, so it takes 6 months to several years to clean a facility where nuclear activity has taken place. The evidence would still be there and there's no way to hide it.

What about the money we're supposedly "giving" Iran?

Actually, nobody's giving Iran any money. The international community is simply giving Iran back its own money that was frozen due to economic sanctions.

What about a better deal?

That's a pipe dream. It took years of negotiations by the Obama administration to convince the Russians and the Chinese to go along with the current round of sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. If America were to back out now, as some in Congress are suggesting we do, then the sanctions regime will collapse, which means that the rest of the world would start doing business with Iran anyway, and we would get nothing in return except for the blame for reneging on our own deal.

The irony is that we've been hearing for years now that Iran is 3 months away from producing a bomb. This deal extends that to 10, 15+ years, and perhaps indefinitely.

What's better? 3 months with no deal or 10+ years with a deal?

A further irony is that the military option, which would cause oil prices to skyrocket and add trillions to our national debt (and not to mention the loss of lives that would make the wars in Vietnam and Iraq look like window dressing); that option only delays a bomb by 2 or 3 years.

Yes. The deal might not work. But even if it doesn't, then at least it would be Iran's credibility that would be eroded, not ours.

Given these alternatives, Congress should give diplomacy a chance.