Home/Daniel Larison/The Nuclear Deal and ‘Credibility’

The Nuclear Deal and ‘Credibility’

The Wall Street Journal editors are grumpy that European governments aren’t abandoning their nuclear deal commitments and have created a mechanism to help keep the deal alive:

This argues for Europe joining Washington in a new, tougher approach to Iran that relieves sanctions only after substantial proof of better regime behavior. With Instex, European governments are committing themselves even further to diplomacy that prizes the JCPOA process over serious results. So much for credibility.

If Europe’s “special purpose vehicle” Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) is as “pointless” as the WSJ editors claim, why are they so angry about it? They are prematurely declaring it as a “flop” because they desperately want it to be that, but it remains to be seen whether and how well it will work to facilitate trade between Iran and Europe. There is something grimly amusing about supposed defenders of free trade and exchange berating Europe for trying to protect their legitimate trade with another country. So much for the WSJ‘s credibility.

Europe has no reason to join Washington in a new approach to Iran when the nuclear deal is working exactly as intended. Our allies worked alongside our government to create the JCPOA. It was the U.S. under the current administration that arbitrarily and foolishly chose to abandon that joint effort. The “JCPOA process” that they deride has been entirely successful in restricting and monitoring Iran’s nuclear program. The Iranian government did change its behavior in the expectation of sanctions relief. The Trump administration chose to go back on our government’s word and illegitimately reimposed sanctions without justification. So much for America’s credibility.

The nuclear deal has been delivering excellent results, but Iran hawks have never cared about that. Before the nuclear issue was resolved, Iran hawks couldn’t shut up about the exaggerated menace of an Iranian nuke. Now that the issue has been dealt with successfully, they don’t care about that anymore and have moved the goalposts to include everything but that. So much for their credibility, if they ever had any.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment