Congress and the Iran Agreement

in Program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t spell out an effective way to block Iran’s path to the bomb in his address to Congress. If Netanyahu were more candid, he would acknowledge the only way to achieve his aims is through military strikes rather than negotiations. In this event, Iran would have far more reason to build nuclear weapons. If members of Congress who favor an agreement were candid, they would acknowledge it will weaken global norms for non-proliferation. If, however, Congress kills a deal that effectively constrains Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the consequences for proliferation will be far worse.

Congress is in a bind. We’re long past the point of closing the barn door on Iran’s enrichment capability. Tehran built this capability during the George W. Bush administration and expanded it greatly in the Obama administration. At this juncture, the best of a poor set of choices is to constrain Iran’s nuclear capability under close scrutiny. Alternatively, Congress can seek ways to reject or block an agreement, assuming one can be successfully negotiated. Rejection could lead to the expulsion of international inspectors, and increased enrichment and airstrikes. Airstrikes would lead down many roads, none of which point to safe destinations.

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Photo credit: laszlo-photo via flickr

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