Opinion: Iran Deal gave rogue regime room to flex
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the Iran Deal, was not a satisfactory response to the Iranian nuclear military program.
The 2015 agreement was intended to stop Iran from developing nuclear military capabilities, yet it did not put an end to Iran’s aggressive ambitions, as Iran proved this week when it announced it violated its explicit commitment and crossed the threshold of 300 kg of enriched uranium, taking a step toward producing nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA unfortunately created a mechanism that would pave Iran’s way to a nuclear weapon. The agreement’s “sunset clause” ensures that after a mere 10-15 years, Iran could begin expanding back its uranium-enrichment program. The agreement thus did not truly dispense with the regime’s decades-long ambition and future capability to produce nuclear weapons.
The JCPOA undermines the international community’s ability to pressure Iran out of its hostile behaviors in the region. This includes its continued development of long-range ballistic and cruise missiles, which have the capability to deliver nuclear warheads as far as the heart of Europe. Maintaining the JCPOA also surrenders leverages that are necessary to bring Iran back to the negotiating table and halt its global hostilities.
The cache of documents (Iran’s "Nuclear Archive") uncovered by Israel in April 2018 revealed that Iran maintained a secret nuclear weapons program capabilities for many years and saved this program in violation of the JCPOA. When Israel exposed the secret Iranian nuclear archive, it proved that any nuclear agreement with Iran is built on one big lie. Now even Iran acknowledges this. Soon additional proof will be revealed that Iran has been lying this whole time.
The Iranian regime also blatantly blackmails the international community by threatening the safe passage of oil tankers through the region. Iran employs this technique to coerce the international community into keeping the JCPOA in place and to avoid the ramifications of its provocative policies.
The international community had hoped that the JCPOA would create an opportunity for the Iranian regime to use the resources from the relief of sanctions for the welfare of the Iranian people. Instead, the regime has spent billions financing bloody wars and proxy militias like Hezbollah and Hamas across the Middle East. Security authorities have foiled several lethal terror attacks by Iranian agents in the United States and around the globe.
Whether one agrees with the United States’ decision to pull out of the deal or not, it is undeniably clear that the JCPOA gives Iran a largely undeterred pathway to acquiring nuclear weapons in the future, allowing it to flex its military muscle and expand its destabilizing policies across the Middle East. Now that the Iranian regime clearly violated the JCPOA, Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Israel calls on all the European countries to uphold its commitment to act the moment Iran violated the nuclear deal and to impose the automatic sanctions set by the Security Council.
Given the shortcomings of the JCPOA, it is essential that the international community comes together to find a solution that ensures that Iran will never become a nuclear power; addresses Iran’s hegemonic ambitions in the region; halts its support of international terrorism; and ends its development of ballistic missiles.
Can a regime that has consistently deceived its partners and that continues to export terrorism across the world, truly be trusted? The international community must demand a complete change in policy from the regime and build a verifiable method to ensure that Iran will no longer pose a global threat.
The maximum pressure campaign under U.S. leadership against Iran remains the most effective diplomatic tool against the Iranian rogue regime. It has been intensifying in recent months and is producing visible results. It is time to make it clear that the world will not tolerate a belligerent, nuclear-armed Iran.
Aviv Ezra is the consul general of Israel to the Midwest.