Shibley Telhami writes: Much of the criticism of the Iran nuclear deal has focused on the fact that it is entirely limited to the nuclear issue, which leaves Iran a free hand — and new resources — to continue policies that have angered regional and international players. There is no denying that if Iran plays its hands well and uses the next decade to build its economic and political potential, its regional influence is likely to expand, as is its capacity to do the sort of things that have angered Israel and Gulf Arab states.
The deal’s biggest critic may be Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called it “a historic mistake.” The irony is that the urgency with which the Obama administration pursued a nuclear deal was itself a product of Israeli actions. For Netanyahu, the deal was a good example of “be careful what you wish for.”
A little reminder is helpful here. To his credit, President Barack Obama succeeded early in his first term to get international support for sanctioning Iran — one critical reason for Iran’s willingness to take the negotiations more seriously. There have been deliberate and sustained efforts to continue pressuring Iran on multiple levels, including its behavior outside the nuclear issue. [Continue reading…]