Richard Dalton writes: Reaching an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons programme has been a long and arduous process. The deal, announced earlier today, is a tremendous achievement for non-proliferation and regional security – and for the negotiators and their political leaders. There are good reasons to believe it will stick.
First, there are effective provisions to guard against cheating. The agreement will deter Iran from breakout using existing or covert facilities. There are snap-back provisions to restore sanctions in the event of violations. In addition, the military option is still not “off the table” – Iran will not want to risk an attack, which would grow more likely if the deal fell through.
Second, while there will be resistance in the US Congress, there are grounds for optimism that they will not succeed in undermining the deal. There is no viable better agreement available if the US turns down this one. For one thing, there would be no international support for more sanctions if the US were seen to have vetoed the deal. The deal’s opponents are unlikely to muster a veto-proof majority against the agreement; and a hypothetical Republican president in 2017 would hesitate before scuppering a deal that had by then been satisfactorily implemented and increased the security of the US and its allies. [Continue reading…]