Douglas Murray objects to the Iran deal because it fails to do something that it never could have done and wasn’t intended to do:
By negotiating with this regime and allowing it off the hook at this moment America, Britain and our allies have not only given a stay of execution to the mullahs, we have further undermined the hopes of any opponents of the regime inside Iran.
The last part of this is particularly misleading, since regime opponents have been just as interested in and supportive of reaching a deal on the nuclear issue and obtaining sanctions relief. The Iranian opposition doesn’t share Western hawkish designs for regime change, and it doesn’t accept the maximalist conditions that critics of the interim deal would require Iran to meet. The regime was not facing “execution,” but the regime obviously would never agree to a deal that facilitated its own demise. One effect of the sanctions has been to weaken and undermine regime opponents by inflicting significant economic distress on the population, and so there is a chance that the successful resolution of the nuclear issue and the lifting of most sanctions will improve conditions for the opposition. Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize Murray’s complaint for the distraction that it is. A deal on the nuclear issue was never going to address, much less solve, other disagreements between Iran and Western governments, and it is absurd to judge it by that standard.
Murray also links to British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s explanation of the details of the deal in order to denounce Hague as an appeaser. Though he doesn’t realize it, Murray wrecks his entire argument by linking to Hague’s speech. Hague explains concisely and clearly what the deal requires of Iran, what restrictions have been put in place, and what minimal sanctions relief Iran has received in exchange. Hague’s account of the deal sums up why it was a good agreement that even skeptics of engagement with Iran should welcome: it imposes limits on Iran’s nuclear program in the near term, and creates an opening for a final settlement that will keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Those that have more aggressive and ambitious designs on Iran aren’t pleased by diplomatic success because it may be able to eliminate a cause for conflict, but that is why the rest of us should welcome it.