Over the weekend, it was announced that six world powers had reached a six-month deal with Iran that calls on Iran to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. President Obama said the landmark deal had “substantial limitations that will help prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon.”
The breakthrough agreement was reached after years of negotiations, and as tensions have escalated in recent years and the threat of nuclear weapons became more real, there was no time like the present to finally strike a deal with Iran.
When the country’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, replaced the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he pledged to improve the economy, unemployment and foreign relations. Many Americans believed this new attitude would lead to an opportunity to resolve the international community’s deep concerns about Iran’s ongoing nuclear program.
This wasn’t necessarily the case.
In the face of opposition from American allies in the Middle East and open hostility from Congress, Obama continued to push for a nuclear pact with Iran. He sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Geneva to negotiate this potentially historic deal, and Kerry was successful. The agreement will halt any progress on Iran’s nuclear program, and provide for thorough inspections. Yes, the deal is, for the time being, better than war. But verification is the key.
I am personally skeptical of the deal. How quickly we forget that Iran has a history of duplicity.
President Ronald Reagan, in the wake of signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia in 1987, said, “Trust but verify.” In fact, this September, Kerry, announcing that the U.S. and Russia had agreed on a method to stop Syria from producing chemical weapons, said, “President Reagan’s old adage about ‘trust but verify’ . . . is in need of an update. And we have committed here to a standard that says ‘verify and verify.’”
I would say this is still the case with Iran. We cannot allow any lax judgment, and must be vigilant about the terms of the deal. We must continue with our enforcement of existing sanctions. Do I believe that Iran is ultimately going to give up its quest for nuclear weapons? No, I doubt it.