Home/Daniel Larison/The Silliness of Demanding a ‘New’ Deal with Iran

The Silliness of Demanding a ‘New’ Deal with Iran

Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom

The Bloomberg editors tell Iran’s government to make even greater concessions in order to reduce the country’s isolation:

Opening negotiations with the U.S. for a new nuclear-arms deal — by accepting restrictions on missile development and renouncing hostile behavior in the region, pledging especially not to threaten Israel’s security — would loosen the economic straitjacket in which Iran finds itself.

If there is one thing Iranians have learned from the experience of the last few years, it is that negotiating with the U.S. gets them nothing and costs them a great deal. The nuclear deal was in force for less than two years when the U.S. arbitrarily broke its word and went back on all of its promises. Iran was in compliance the entire time, and it is still in compliance, but that hasn’t earned them the sanctions relief they were promised. It is the deal-breakers in the administration that ought to be offering Iran additional incentives to bring them to the table, since it is the deal-breakers that are responsible for the current state of affairs.

There is no need for a “new” deal when the original nonproliferation agreement is working as intended. As for the additional things Iran is supposed to concede, they have absolutely no reason to offer anything else when they have not even been allowed to receive the full benefits of the agreement that they have been implementing. If Iran is supposed to give up even more, what additional gains can they expect in return? If the answer is that they get nothing more than the same easily-reversed sanctions relief that was taken away from them last year, there is nothing to be negotiated.

Look at things from Iran’s side. What would be the point of expending the effort and political capital necessary to negotiate a new agreement that the U.S. could renege on a few years later? Rouhani and his allies have been burned by the U.S., and U.S. actions have once again made talking to Washington politically radioactive. The editorial talks about Iran’s current economic “straitjacket” as if it were something that Iran’s government chose rather than something that was forced upon them. It is not for Iran’s government to remove a straitjacket imposed on it by others. It is up to the government responsible for illegitimately reimposing sanctions to take it off. We all know that the Trump administration isn’t going to do that, so why pretend that new negotiations are even a possibility under the circumstances?

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.

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