Fred Kaplan points out one of the many flaws in Netanyahu’s speech today:
This is a legitimate concern, but consider the following: First, a lot can happen in 10 years. (Take a look back at the most recent three or four 10-year periods.) Second, almost every arms-control accord ever negotiated has an expiration date [bold mine-DL]. Third—and this is key—the horrible things that Netanyahu foresees 10 years down the road, if the deal is signed, might happen—by his own logic, would happen—in the next two or three years if the talks fail.
To understand Kaplan’s second point, one need only think back a few years to the debate over New START. That arms reduction treaty was designed to replace the then-expired START and to continue the reduction of the both states’ strategic arsenals. New START itself was set to expire in ten years’ time. So it is quite normal for such agreements to have expiration dates. That can make it easier to reach an agreement, since none of the interested parties is making a permanent commitment, and it leaves open the possibility of renewing or extending the agreement–or ending it–depending on how well the agreement that has worked up until that point. There is no reason to assume that a nuclear deal with Iran couldn’t be similarly extended or renewed a decade from now. Those that are most alarmed by Iran’s nuclear program ought to be jumping at the chance to limit that program for that length of time, but as usual all that Iran hawks can see is that the deal falls short of their impossible, maximalist standards.
At one point in his speech, Netanyahu made a crack about how the deal currently being negotiated would be a “farewell to arms control,” but the truth is that it is the opponents of the deal that have no use for arms control or the agreements that make it possible.