Judy Asks: Can We Believe in a Deal With Iran?
Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute:
We can believe in a deal with Iran, provided the West learns the lessons from a decade of failed negotiations: stay united and keep up the pressure, or Tehran will cross the nuclear weapons capability threshold. President Hassan Rouhani’s rhetoric may be less obscene than that of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but that does not mean the regime’s nature and strategic outlook have changed. Far from being a moderate, Rouhani has been a central figure in the Islamic Republic since day one. He shares direct responsibility both for the regime’s human rights crimes and for nuclear deception. He has repeatedly boasted how, as Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator in 2003–2005, he used the talks to advance the country’s nuclear program. Since Rouhani’s election, Tehran’s domestic suppression and its support for international terrorism and the massacres committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have continued as relentlessly as Iran’s nuclear program. And that program, as the International Atomic Energy Agency has documented, includes not only enrichment but also nuclear triggers, warheads, and delivery systems. According to IAEA data, Tehran has now enough low-enriched uranium to fuel six nuclear warheads after further enrichment. Iran could produce one bomb’s worth of weapons-grade material in just seven weeks—faster if it used its second-generation centrifuges. To roll back Iran’s nuclear program, the West needs to continue with tough sanctions coupled with a credible military threat.
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