For all the bitter division within the Jewish community and beyond over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, there was virtual unanimity that the goal was to prevent the regime in Tehran, whose avowed goal is to destroy the Jewish state, from possessing the capabilities to produce a nuclear bomb.
The question this week, following President Trump’s announcement to “nix” rather than “fix” the agreement, is whether the bold move will assure that goal or have the reverse effect.
“The Iran deal is defective at its core,” the president said on Tuesday. “If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
But that “short period of time” was about a decade from now; what if Iran decides to go back to, and speed up, its nuclear program tomorrow?
We agree with much of the president’s assessment that the Iran deal was flawed from the outset in focusing exclusively on Iran’s nuclear program rather than including Iran’s terrorist activities, its ballistic missile development and its human rights violations.
The bruising battle over the deal did not end when it was signed, and there is even ongoing debate within Israel between security and military officials who are satisfied with the outcome and Prime Minister Netanyahu and others in the government who abhorred the agreement.
Still, from a variety of indications, Iran has lived up to the conditions of the 2015 pact. Even Netanyahu, in his dramatic revelation of secret documents last week underscoring Iran’s lies and deception over the years, did not make the claim that the agreement was being broached now.
Neither he nor President Trump, in his forceful and in many ways emotionally satisfying speech Tuesday, have indicated what their response will be if Iran now resumes its efforts to produce a nuclear arsenal. Trump believes the Iranian leadership will back down and agree to further restraints. It appears the only other solution is to use force — Israeli, American or both — to stop Iran.
Statements from major American Jewish groups following the Trump speech expressed hope that diplomacy rather than violence will prevail. Of course, we hope so, too. Just as we hope the administration has a plan, short of a war, that could enflame Israel and much of the Mideast, to counter an emboldened Iran.
More coverage of the Iran Deal here.