The ink was even dry on the Iranian nuclear deal before the conservatives came out in force. As expected, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s hard line Prime minister, appeared on television screens throughout the world calling the agreement a “historic mistake for the world”. Republican Senators, House members, and Presidential candidates flooded the cable news airways criticizing the deal and even calling it “dead on arrival” before they even had time to read it. You can also bet that Iranian hardliner Republican Guards are also fuming behind the scenes. The Iranian hard line Rajanews website criticized the deal, saying Iran gave away too much. It is no surprise that this disparate group of conservatives is united in their reaction – for more on this please see my previous article: What Republicans and Iranian Hardliners Have in Common. http://www.cajunscomments.com/what-do-republicans-and-iranian-hard-liners-have-in-common/)
All of these conservatives, Bibi, Republican members of Congress, the Iranian Republican Guard, can all present a myriad of arguments as to why the agreement should have never be signed. Their talking points of course vary according to their perspectives, and many of them sound reasonable on the surface, but they are fall apart like boats crashed into the rocks by a storm when confronted by two simple facts: 1. The United states was not alone on our side of the negotiating table and the US can not single handedly make further sanctions work. 2. The critics offer no viable alternatives.
It was not just the United States and Iran at the negotiating this deal, because the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is a matter of extreme importance to the entire word. Countries around the earth would have serious concerns if the rouge nation of Iran were to become a nuclear power. Therefore it was fitting across the table from the Iranians sat members of the so called P5+1 representing the rest of the world. They were the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United Kingdom, France, the United States, China and Russia – plus Germany, easily the six pf greatest powers on earth. They also agreed to the deal.
In addition it is important to note that the sanctions which caused forced Iran to the negotiating table after inflicting serious toll on Iran’s economy and people were not unilaterally imposed by the United States. The US first imposed sanctions against Iran in 1979 after the Iranian revolution and strengthened them in 1995, but they had limited affect because the US was not yet joined by other countries. However between 2006 and 2012 the UN Security Council passed eight resolutions which imposed sanctions which were imposed specifically because or Iran’s apparent steps to develop nuclear weapons. In 2012 the European Union agreed to an oil embargo on Iran and froze the assets of Iran’s central bank. Eventually many of the worlds country’s also imposed sanctions on Iran.
So the US is by no means in total control of this situation and it is obvious that the other negotiating members – United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia – are in agreement that this is a workable deal and the other countries in the world are very likely follow their lead. This means that most countries in the world will be willing to lift their sanctions in accordance with agreement. Even if somehow Bibi Netanyahu and his allies in the US Congress were to force the US to withdraw from the agreement tomorrow and maintain this country’s sanctions indefinitely, those sanctions would lose much of their effectiveness if most of the other countries lift their sanctions and proceed to actively do business with Iran. Unilateral sanctions won’t have the desired affect.
So, by prior agreement, congress will have 60 days to study the agreement, but confirmation of the agreement by the Senate, like that required for the ratification of a treaty, is not required. However, those US sanctions originally imposed by Congress would have to be removed by Congress. Others which were put in place by Presidential
Executive Order could be removed unilaterally by the President. After studying the agreement, if they have the votes, both houses of Congress could pass a resolution nullifying to the agreement, but President Obama would no doubt veto such a resolution. While some Democrats might join the Republicans in trying to overcome that veto, at this point there doesn’t appear to be the two thirds votes in both the House and the Senate for and override to be successful. Even if the Republican led Congress is successful in blocking the participation of the US, the sanctions imposed by the rest of the world will lift in accordance with the timelines of the agreement and the agreement will go on without us and there is not a thing that Bibi or the Republicans in Congress can do about it.
On to the second point – when analyzing the possible solution, logic requires that two questions be asked. First, does the solution solve the problem? If the answer is yes, the next question is, are there better alternative solutions?
The issue was to ensure that Iran is not capable of securing a nuclear weapon for the foreseeable future. Anyone acquainted with the agreement understands that there are adequate safeguards to prevent Iran from surreptitiously obtaining nuclear weapons without being detected. Then if sometime in the future Iran decides to walk away from the deal, since the their nuclear capacity will have been severely degraded as per the agreement, it would take them far more time to develop an nuclear weaponthan if they started today. It is apparent that the first question is satisfied.