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Iran Nuclear Deal: Alive or Dead?

Though every Republican in Congress voted against the Iran nuclear deal, “Tearing it up … is not going to happen,” says Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Hopefully, the chairman speaks for the president-elect.

During the campaign, Donald Trump indicated as much, saying that, though the U.S. got jobbed in the negotiations—”We have a horrible contract, but we do have a contract”—he might not walk away.

To Trump, a deal’s a deal, even a bad one. And we did get taken.

In 2007 and 2011, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies assured us, “with high confidence,” that Iran did not have an atomic-bomb program.

Yet our folks forked over $50 billion for an Iranian show and tell to prove they were not doing what our 17 intelligence agencies told us, again and again, they were not doing.

Why did we disbelieve our own intelligence, and buy into the “Chicken Little” chatter about Iran being “only months away from a bomb”?

Corker also administered a cold shower to those who darkly warn of a secret Iranian program to produce a bomb: “In spite of all the flaws in the agreement, nothing bad is going to happen relative to nuclear development in Iran in the next few years. It’s just not.”

Under the deal, Iran has put two-thirds of the 19,000 centrifuges at Natanz in storage, ceased enriching uranium to 20 percent at Fordow, poured concrete into the core of its heavy water reactor at Arak, and shipped 97 percent of its enriched uranium out of the country. Cameras and United Nations inspectors are all over the place.

Even should Iran decide on a crash program to create enough fissile material for a single A-bomb test, this would take a year, and we would know about it.

But why would they? After all, there are sound reasons of state why Iran decided over a decade ago to forgo nuclear weapons.

Discovery of a bomb program could bring the same U.S. shock and awe as was visited on Iraq for its nonexistent WMD. Discovery would risk a preemptive strike by an Israel with scores of nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia and Turkey would have a powerful inducement to build their own bombs.

Acquiring a nuclear weapon would almost surely make Iran, a Persian nation on the edge of a sea of Arabs, less secure.

If, however, in the absence of a violation of the treaty by Iran, we tore up the deal, we could find ourselves isolated. For Britain, France, and Germany also signed, and they believe the agreement is a good one.

Do we really want to force these NATO allies to choose between the deal they agreed to and a break with the United States?

If the War Party is confident Iran is going to cheat, why not wait until they do? Then make our case with evidence, so our allies can go with us on principle, and not from pressure.

Also at issue is the deal signed by Boeing to sell Iran 80 jetliners. Airbus has contracted to sell Iran 100 planes, and begun delivery. List price for the two deals: $34.5 billion. Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs are at stake.

Is a Republican Congress prepared to blow up the Boeing deal and force the Europeans to cancel the Airbus deal?

Why? Some contend the planes can be used to transport the Iranian Republican Guard. But are the Iranians, who are looking to tourism, trade, and investment to rescue their economy, so stupid as to spend $35 billion for troop transports they could buy from Vladimir Putin?

The Ayatollah’s regime may define itself by its hatred of the Great Satan. Still, in 2009, even our War Party was urging President Obama to publicly back the Green Movement uprising against the disputed victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In 2013, moderates voted Hassan Rouhani into the presidency, where he began secret negotiations with the USA.

New elections will be held this year. And while the death of ex-President Rafsanjani this weekend has removed the powerful patron of Rouhani and strengthened the hard-liners, Ayatollah Khamenei is suffering from cancer, and the nation’s future remains undetermined.

Iran’s young seek to engage with the West. But if they are spurned, by the cancellation of the Boeing deal and the reimposition of U.S. sanctions, they will be disillusioned and discredited, and the mullahs will own the future.

How would that serve U.S. interests?

We still have sanctions on Iran for its missile tests in violation of Security Council resolutions, for its human-rights violations, and for its support of groups like Hezbollah. But we also have in common with Iran an enmity for the Sunni terrorists of al-Qaeda and ISIS.

We are today fighting in Libya, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as the War Party works to confront Beijing in the South China Sea, Russia in Ukraine, and North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests.

Could we perhaps put the confrontation with Iran on hold?

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority [1].

18 Comments (Open | Close)

18 Comments To "Iran Nuclear Deal: Alive or Dead?"

#1 Comment By Chris Chuba On January 9, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

It’s silly to stop a $34B airline deal to Iran because a fraction of its capacity could be used to transport the IRGC. That is $34B that will not be used to purchase explosives and high tech weaponry that is far more deadly.

#2 Comment By MULGA On January 10, 2017 @ 5:24 am

Kushner is Trump’s senior adviser. What experience does he have in these matters other than marrying the boss’s daughter? Trump is not looking like such a good idea, after all. Is Kerry looking at a 2020 run?

#3 Comment By Richard On January 10, 2017 @ 8:40 am

Soooooo….the Iran deal signed by Obama was bad, but Trump should not tear it up because it is ….. good?

#4 Comment By Nelson On January 10, 2017 @ 9:14 am

Richard, I don’t think it was ever claimed on this site that the deal signed by Obama was bad.

#5 Comment By Doug On January 10, 2017 @ 9:27 am

I’m sure all the contractors and employees Trump has stiffed over the years will certainly agree that Trump respects nothing more than the deals he makes.

#6 Comment By Viriato On January 10, 2017 @ 9:42 am

Richard, Pat has always been in favor of the Iran deal.

#7 Comment By Jim Jatras On January 10, 2017 @ 9:44 am

One of the dumber things Obama said about the Iran agreement before it was formalized was “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

In international politics, that’s rarely the case. Countries make “bad” deals all the time if the alternative is something far, far worse: war. Which is what many opponents of the deal were pushing for. (If you liked a trillion or so flushed down the drain in Iraq, you’d LOVE the cost of a much bigger war against Iran.)

Critics of the Iran deal claimed the alternative was a better deal. That’s highly unlikely. Given the need to keep the Europeans on board, not to mention Russia and China, Iran was probably pushed as far as she could be. However bad or not the current deal is, it makes sense to make the best of it.

Oh, and sell the Boeing planes. #MAGA

#8 Comment By John Lord On January 10, 2017 @ 11:57 am

I don’t like Iran for the awful threats it has made against Israel.But perhaps the Persians are taking this hard line just in order to show up the Arabs, and not out of real conviction.

#9 Comment By collin On January 10, 2017 @ 1:08 pm

Of course, if we decide to end the deal, why would the other nations change their honoring the deal? China is planning to shovel billions investment with Iran and Europe might be tired of trying to freeze out Iranian from the market. (For Example ExxonMobile did some business with Iran years ago will come up.) So we could rip up the deal and really have no leverage over Iran.

I think this is one item having Trump “Making Iran deal better” is a good thing. (Even if he does nothing to change the deal.)

#10 Comment By Richard On January 10, 2017 @ 6:57 pm

Nelson, Viriato: I recall that Pat supported the Iran deal as being in the best interests of the US. But here is what he says in this article:

“To Trump, a deal’s a deal, even a bad one. And we did get taken.”

#11 Comment By Redeemed-Deplorable On January 10, 2017 @ 9:45 pm

Iran, pre-Carter, was being led in a modernizing direction and was, at least in appearances, on course to be with us more than against us. Post Jimmy and the Beards, that flipped, and thousand-year old anti-Western hatreds were stoked.

The alternatives were not ‘another Vietnam/Iraq’ vs ‘appease and facilitate’. That’s a Leftist line, there’s nothing conservative about it. While a war with Iran is both inadvisable and too late, if they continue developing ICBM tech they’ll further destabilize the mideast and threaten us.

A country where ‘Good Morning’ is pronounced “Death To America” is not one we should allow to have advanced centrifuges hidden in mountain bunkers.

#12 Comment By RockMeAmadeus On January 11, 2017 @ 12:25 am

For the record, the negotiations began in the second Ahmadinejad administration, in Oman.

#13 Comment By Dennis J. Tuchler On January 11, 2017 @ 5:34 pm

What does Israel (AIPAC, etc.) want Congress to do?

#14 Comment By cka2nd On January 12, 2017 @ 4:30 am

Redeemed-Deplorable says: “Iran, pre-Carter, was being led in a modernizing direction and was, at least in appearances, on course to be with us more than against us. Post Jimmy and the Beards, that flipped, and thousand-year old anti-Western hatreds were stoked.”

Imperialist powers love pushing the line to their own citizens and ignorant do-gooders that “the bad guys” have to go back hundreds of years to find some now obscure justification for their modern “crimes.” This is done to ward off any blame that said imperialists may actually have for the situation. The Serbs in the 1990’s didn’t have to reach back to some battle they lost to the Turks 400 or 500 years ago; they had quite fresh memories of the massacres carried out by the Croatian puppet state set up by Nazi Germany during World War II, the last time Yugoslavia was torn apart, and the modern German republic was the leading force in Europe supporting the post-USSR dismemberment of Yugoslavia. Hell, even the Habsburgs got involved with excoriating the Serbs!

Nor were “thousand-year old anti-Western hatreds” needed to stoke anger against the United States in 1979 when the joint Anglo-American overthrow of reformist Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh had occurred only 26 years earlier, and the intervening years featured an authoritarian regime resting on an active and brutal secret police force and lavish military and diplomatic support by the West.

#15 Comment By Redeemed-Deplorable On January 12, 2017 @ 9:14 am

“What does Israel (AIPAC, etc.) want Congress to do?”

Let’s ask those devious AIPAC agents Valeria Jarrett, Huma Abedin and Barack Hussein Obama.

btw, when given to male children, the name pattern H-ss-n means that the child is Muslim. In Islamic law, a child’s affiliation is set by birth and cannot be changed afterwards. Of course, Islam can only be a Jewish conspiracy.

Some of the comments here sound more like #BLM than #Conservative, much less #Patriot.

#16 Comment By Viriato On January 12, 2017 @ 5:13 pm


Trump says that the Iran Deal is a bad deal. Pat is using Trump’s opinion of the deal as a jumping off-point for his own opinion on the deal: that it was unnecessary because we knew all along that Iran did not have a nuclear program. Thus, in Pat’s view, we spent a lot of money to disarm Iran of a nuclear program, in his estimation at least, Iran never had in the first place.

So, if my reading of Pat is correct, he thinks that the Iran Deal was unnecessary but that it was certainly preferable to going to war. Now that it is in place, it should absolutely not be torn up.

In short, when Pat says that the deal is bad, he is making a very different critique than the one neocon hawks make.

Why does Trump think the deal is bad? Who knows? He only ever speaks in vague generalities…

#17 Comment By Brendan Sexton On January 13, 2017 @ 5:17 pm

you say, PB, that “To Trump, a deal’s a deal, even a bad one…..”
it is hard to understand how you could have read his history so completely incorrectly. Trump is a welcher, a reneger, a short-changer, a four-flusher. the amazing thing is that this thread runs so consistently through his business history, yet he still survives.

#18 Comment By Wun Tu Koe On January 13, 2017 @ 11:38 pm

Great article. But why would the ‘War Party’ place Iran on hold?

Clearly, the US needs more war. Russia, China, maybe we should bomb Japan, again.