The deal poses a grave threat to the region and the world, but especially to Israel. Israel was not a party to the negotiations and is not bound by this deal.
- Doesn’t the deal make it less likely that Iran will get a nuclear weapon?
On the contrary, this deal gives Iran two paths to the bomb. The first path is by Iran violating the deal. The assumption underlying the deal is that inspections and intelligence will keep Iran from cheating. However, both have failed repeatedly in Iran and North Korea. For example, the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel all failed for years to detect Iran’s massive underground nuclear factories in Natanz and Qom.
The second path is by Iran complying with the deal. In about a decade, the major restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will be automatically removed, allowing Iran to have an unlimited number of centrifuges for carrying out unlimited enrichment of uranium with full international legitimacy. Iran’s centrifuges will enrich uranium much faster than those it operates today because the deal allows Iran to continue research and development of advanced centrifuges. Iran’s breakout time at that point will be close to zero, as the US President himself has said.
While the deal might make it more difficult for Iran to develop a bomb in the immediate future, it all but guarantees that Iran will be able to make an entire nuclear arsenal in a decade or so.
- What are the realistic alternatives to this deal other than war?
Israel repeatedly presented two different alternatives to this bad deal. First, Israel supported the policy of "dismantle for dismantle," whereby the sanctions regime would be dismantled only when Iran’s military nuclear program is dismantled. This policy was based on successive UN Security Council resolutions and was US policy until 2013. Its implementation would have genuinely closed the Iranian nuclear file.
Second, Israel proposed a significant, if not complete, roll-back of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure combined with severe restrictions on that infrastructure that would be lifted only when Iran ceased its regional aggression, support of terrorism around the world and efforts to destroy Israel. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, it should act like a normal country. In a decade or so, Iran will pose a formidable threat to the peace of the world and the expectation today that Iran will become a nuclear power tomorrow is enough in itself to spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the most volatile region on earth.
In addition, the many hundreds of billions of dollars that will flow into Iran’s coffers over the next decade will fund its war-making and terror machine.
All this doesn’t make war less likely. It makes war – even nuclear war – more likely.
- If the deal guarantees "unprecedented" inspections of Iran’s nuclear program, why is Israel so worried about Iran cheating?
While the deal provides for 24/7 surveillance of Iran’s declared nuclear facilities, the inspection mechanism is sorely lacking when it comes to possible covert nuclear weapons activity at undeclared sites. The deal gives Iran 24 days before they have to allow inspectors into suspicious sites before there is even a violation. Twenty-four days gives Iran plenty of time to conceal illicit behavior because not all nuclear weapons activities leave detectable traces.
The weaknesses of the inspection and verification provisions of the deal stand out when considering that Iran, like North Korea, has a long history of successfully deceiving the international community as part of its efforts to hide its nuclear weapons program. This is far from the “anytime, anywhere” inspections promised during the negotiations.
- In the absence of this deal, wouldn’t the international sanctions have fallen apart?
The crippling sanctions imposed on Iran in 2012 are what convinced the regime that it had no choice but to negotiate. The most important of these sanctions were those that passed in the United States with strong bipartisan support. Faced with the choice of doing business with Iran or with the United States (whose economy is more than 40 times larger than Iran’s), countries and companies around the world did the right thing – both economically and ethically. They will continue to do so if sanctions are maintained or intensified, which is essential for convincing Iran to accept a better deal that substantially dismantles its military nuclear program.
The deal itself threatens to make it impossible to re-impose meaningful sanctions following Iranian violations because of the incentives it provides for rapid, massive and long-term investment in Iran.
- Isn’t it true that this deal with make Israel and the region safer? Isn’t it preferable to confront a non-nuclear Iran about its terrorism and aggression?
This deal will not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. It will enable Iran to get many nuclear bombs in a decade or so and could spark a regional nuclear arms race.
In addition, the deal will provide Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief, direct investment and oil sales. This windfall will fund Iran’s nuclear program as well as its terrorism and aggression that continue to undermine regional and global stability.
The deal does not condition the removal of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program on Iran ceasing its terrorism and destabilizing activities in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere. Thus, this deal makes the problem of Iran’s terrorism worse.
- Now that the deal has been adopted by the UN Security Council and the EU, what will Israel do next?
The deal poses a grave threat to the region and the world, but especially to Israel. Even during the nuclear negotiations, Iran continued to call for the annihilation of Israel while streaming offensive weapons to Iranian proxies on Israel’s borders and sponsoring terrorism targeting Israelis and Jews around the world. Israelis across the political spectrum are united in opposition to this dangerous deal, which is much worse than having no deal at all. This is not a partisan issue in Israel, and it shouldn’t be a partisan issue anywhere.
Israel was not a party to the negotiations and is not bound by this deal. Israel will always reserve the right to defend itself by itself against any threat.