It has been two weeks since the signing of the agreement with Iran, and we all have had an opportunity to read it closely. The issue at hand is too critical and serious to be debated solely through slogans and sound bites; one should read the agreement and absorb its details in order to thoughtfully discuss it, whether one supports it or opposes it.
We have read it — carefully. Going over the details of the agreement only reinforced our notion that this agreement spells disaster. It is a notion no longer. Now we are convinced. Allow me to provide some examples that illustrate three crucial points:
First, the agreement is not enforceable. The critical leverage on Iran that allows effective enforcement of this deal is the threat of reactivation of sanctions, which has been referred to as the “snap back” mechanism. The specifics of that mechanism are available in the text of the agreement. There one finds that Iran has an active role in the decision-making process, determining in the end if it violated the agreement. The most incongruous part of the agreement is this: Should “snap back” sanctions be reintroduced, Iran has the right to renege and not be obligated by it, giving it in effect veto power over the entire process, and thereby rendering the entire “snap back” mechanism completely irrelevant and entirely ineffective.
Second, the agreement is not verifiable. It is important to understand that a huge part of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, particularly in the area of enrichment, were attained over the years in a clandestine manner in several undeclared sites while it was under IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) supervision.
Given that, and realizing that even the strongest, most stringent forms of IAEA inspections have inherent limitations, one can appreciate how critically important it is that IAEA inspectors attain immediate access to any declared or suspected site in Iran. Indefensibly, that is clearly not the case in the agreement at hand, which stipulates a slow, bureaucratic and utterly ineffective process for IAEA inspectors to physically inspect suspected and military sites. That is — if Iran adheres to the agreement and allows them in in the first place. Alternatively, it can choose to go the North Korean route and simply block inspections altogether.
Finally, the agreement lacks balance. Iran was on the receiving end of concession after concession and it really only gave back a promise that it will adhere to the agreement for a few years until it naturally expires and a promise to refrain from abusing its vast nuclear infrastructure after that expiration date for military use. Based on past promises that Iran has made, I wouldn’t put my money on them keeping this one either.
The devil is in the details, they say, and this agreement fails that test miserably. But beyond the details, it is an agreement flawed fundamentally and rotten from its very core. It is the clear antithesis of its intended goal — dismantling Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and assuring it will never be able to attain a nuclear bomb. Instead, this agreement paves the way for Iran to be a legitimate military nuclear power on the world stage in a mere decade or less. It essentially gives Iran a license to nuke.
Yaron Sideman is consul general of Israel to the mid-Atlantic region.