Corker’s Case Against the Nuclear Deal Makes No Sense
Bob Corker has produced an op-ed that ostensibly explains his reasons for opposing the nuclear deal with Iran, but almost all of it is focused on anything but the deal itself:
Perhaps a larger issue is beyond the scope of the deal itself. Absent a clearly articulated policy for the region, this deal will become the linchpin of the United States’ Middle East strategy. We will be relying on Iran to help achieve our goals in Iraq, Syria and perhaps elsewhere. This abrupt rebalancing could have the effect of driving others in the region to take greater risks, leading to greater instability.
Corker skips past the usual meaningless rhetoric about wanting a better deal. While he pays lip service to diplomacy at one point, it is evident that he isn’t interested in any deal that could be made with Iran. He makes it very plain that his main problem is with Iran’s foreign policy, and he is going to oppose the deal in order to express his opposition to Iran overall. Corker can certainly do that, and it has been fairly obvious for some time that Corker was on the side of the Iran hawks that wanted to block the deal, but there should be no illusion that he is doing this because of the deal’s flaws. Iran hawks have spent more than a decade lecturing on us on the imperative of preventing Iran from being able to acquire a nuclear weapon, and now that the best chance of doing that is at hand they have decided that they have other priorities.
Naturally Corker doesn’t address the consequences of rejecting the deal, nor does he identify any alternative that would do even a fraction of what the deal does to limit Iran’s nuclear program. Objecting to the confidentiality of the IAEA’s agreements with Iran, he would prefer that there be no inspections at all. Because he claims to be dissatisfied with the deal’s verification measures, he is prepared to forego all verification. Like every other opponent of the deal, Corker refuses to accept a major nonproliferation success because it isn’t perfect, and he is more concerned to promote confrontation with Iran throughout the region rather than seize an opportunity to reduce the likelihood of a conflict between the U.S. and Iran.