Former Israeli Ambassador to the US MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) sought to silence proponents of the Iran nuclear deal signed last Tuesday – prime among them US President Barack Obama – who claimed it was the best possible option.
In an op-ed Tuesday in Politico Magazine, Oren noted that proponents of the deal say international sanctions would be violated by Europe, Russia and China; that Israel and other critics of the deal did not propose an alternative; and that America either must accept the deal or go to war.
"None of these assertions is true," emphasized the former ambassador.
Oren began by deconstructing the current Iran deal, noting that under its framework Iran could either use advanced IR-8 centrifuges and break out to a nuclear weapon before an inspection, which must wait 24 days, or else wait ten years for the conditions to end and be able to produce a nuclear arsenal in no time.
In a significant remark given Saudi intentions to obtain a nuclear weapon stated this week, he noted that Iran's "neighbors, beginning with Saudi Arabia, would rush to acquire their own. The result would be a strategic arms race that would transform the already unstable Middle East into a nuclear powder keg."
Another claim by proponents of the deal is that sanctions can be "snapped back" if Iran violates it, but Oren argued that they can only be reinstated "after a lengthy international process that excludes all the contracts signed by Iran before it were to cheat. As such, the deal serves as an incentive for foreign companies to sign a great number of short- and medium-term contracts with Iran. The windfall is estimated to reach $700 billion, according to Israeli government sources."
Under the deal, the leading state sponsor of terror could continue funding and supplying terrorist groups with weapons, develop its ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) program, all coordinated by its top terror commander, Qassem Soleimani, who had sanctions against him removed in the deal.
Likewise, "American security forces that once tried to penetrate Iran’s nuclear program would then – astonishingly, according to the deal’s Annex 3, Section D10 – be obligated to help protect it."
A better deal?
Given all the dangerous pitfalls of the deal, could a better deal have been possible? According to Oren, "the answer – emphatically – is yes."
"The biting sanctions enacted by Congress, and approved by President Barack Obama, halted the Iranian nuclear program. They also forced the Iranians to the negotiating table, where they would have remained, and made far-reaching concessions, were the sanctions intensified or at least sustained," he noted.
While Russia, China and others may protest against continuing the sanctions, "in the end, it is highly unlikely that they would have forfeited access to America’s $17 trillion economy to cut oil deals with Iran."
"A combination of robust sanctions and a credible military threat by the United States would have compelled the Iranians to make more far-reaching and substantive concessions than the few largely symbolic gestures contained in this deal."
Noting the fallout between Israel and the Obama administration over the deal, he noted, "these were the terms that Israel sought and communicated to American decision makers. We have the greatest interest in reaching a good diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat, and the most to lose from either a bad deal or a resort to force."
Listing the terms that the deal should have included, he stated, "Israel would have embraced an agreement that significantly rolled back the number of centrifuges and nuclear facilities in Iran and that linked any sanctions relief to demonstrable changes in its behavior."
"No more state support of terror, no more threatening America’s Middle Eastern allies, no more pledges to destroy the world’s only Jewish state and no more mass chants of 'Death to America.' Israel would have welcomed any arrangement that monitored Iran’s ICBMs and other offensive weaponry. Such a deal, Israeli leaders across the political spectrum agree, was and remains attainable."
Oren concluded, saying, "Americans must be informed about the perils that this deal poses not only to the Middle East but to their own families. They must understand that at stake here is not personality or legacy, but rather the security and, indeed, the lives of millions. A good deal is still possible for those with the courage to forge it."