Both 2020 and 2021 were filled with blockbuster news, and 2022 is following in step. A story that is about to break could turn into the biggest of them all. It’s about an agreement, of all things.
Most of the time, agreements are not a big deal. This one is, because many people in the US will object to it, long-established political and military alliances in the Middle East will be rattled, and in the opinion of some, it greatly heightens the danger of a new war.
At the center of this is America’s willingness to enter into a nuclear deal with Iran, and even though nothing has been signed yet, protests are already mounting. One of those speaking out forcefully is Israeli Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was very explicit in stating that the United States is making a big mistake.
“This agreement is dangerous for Israel, for the United States, and for the entire world,” he said. “It doesn’t prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons or the means to deliver them to the United States and Europe, because they are allowed under this agreement to develop the ballistic missiles that can deliver atomic warheads. Iran with the nuclear agreement becomes a rich country, with hundreds of billions of dollars, which they will use for terror and aggression.”
Criticism was quick in coming from the US, too. “By every indication, the Biden Administration appears to have given away the store,” read a statement issued by 49 US Republican Senators on March 14. “What is more, it appears likely to strengthen Iran’s financial and security relationship with Moscow and Beijing, including through arms sales.”
The Proof Is In The Pudding
Even glancing at this agreement is distressing, but reviewing the specifics is totally upsetting. Consider the following, which was compiled by Majid Rafizadeh, a business strategist and advisor, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East.
*With the increased flow of funds to the ruling mullahs, expect an increase across Iran in human rights violations and domestic crackdowns on those who oppose the regime’s policies.
*A nuclear deal will undoubtedly escalate Iran’s interference in the domestic affairs of other countries -- despite what the advocates of this deal argue.
*Sanctions relief, as a consequence of a nuclear accord, will most likely finance Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Quds Force; it will also buttress Iran’s terrorist proxies, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis, Iraq’s Shiite militias, and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
*The worst parts of this new deal are, of course, that it will enable the Iranian regime, repeatedly listed by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism, to have full nuclear weapons capability, an unlimited number of nuclear warheads, and the intercontinental ballistic missile systems with which to deliver them,” said Rafizadeh.
In addition, in a separate deal, the US will reportedly remove the IRGC from America’s List of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and what they’ll get in return is hardly reassuring: a public commitment from Iran to de-escalate in the region and a promise not to attack Americans.
Can A Leopard Change Its Spots?
Iran never upheld its commitments in the earlier deal made with the US in 2015. Nevertheless, for some inexplicable reason, the US has accepted the premise they will stick to their commitments now.
Other points in this deal are also baffling and one of these is the clause “not to attack Americans.” That by itself is fine, but does it mean that it’s okay for the Iranians to attack the Saudis, UAE, Israel, and/or Europe? Technically, if Iran engages in any of these activities, it would still be honoring its obligations.
Treaties must be ratified by the Senate. This one, however, will be the exception. The Biden Administration will not “submit a new Iran deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty, as per its constitutional obligation,” according to Rafizdeh.
The 49 Republican Senators who stated their objection said that “the nuclear limitations in this new deal appear to be significantly less restrictive than those in the 2015 nuclear deal -- which by itself was weak.
By signing this deal the US is ignoring the threat Iran poses to Israel and other nations in the region, to Europe and even the US, because of the leeway it gives in acquiring and developing nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles required to deliver them long distances. This should be of great concern even to those who oppose Israel because to Iran Israel is the “little Satan” but the US is the “great Satan.”
Still another puzzling aspect of this deal is that Iran is able to expand its financial and military ties to Moscow and Beijing -- hard to understand any time but especially now, considering that America’s relations with these two countries are strained, particularly those with Russia.
Puzzling or not, this deal will enable Iran to add many billions to its coffers by removing sanctions on energy, banking, shipping, and opening the country to new investments. In effect, Iran would be able to do business as usual the same as any other country -- even though it will be armed to the teeth and refuses to compromise one iota on its extremist agenda and goals.
What happens next is uncertain. Until very recently, countries like Saudi Arabia shared a common threat with Israel, and according to news reports were forming an alliance based on that. Now that the US has clearly elevated Iran to favored nation status while relegating traditional allies to second best, it remains to be seen whether they’ll try to align themselves with Iran or Israel.
At the same time, Israel may be wondering whether it can still rely on America to the extent it has in the past, and consider what options it has going forward. And Iran, enjoying its new status, may be emboldened to take advantage of that.
With enormous resources of oil and gas, huge populations, huge swaths of land, and direct access to strategic waterways, the entire region is a tempting target to powers around the world. Historical alliances, moderation, and tangible benefits to the populace just don’t compete with those.
The entire situation has become unpredictable, volatile, and explosive, and the events that happen there will affect what happens here -- from Main Street to Wall Street, workers, investors, retirees, and everyone in between.
The deal the US is about to sign with Iran will indirectly support terrorism, extremism, endanger many millions of people, and possibly lead countries to conclude that they have no choice but to go to war. It is bad for the US, for Israel, for the entire Middle East, and the world. Let’s hope it is derailed by a last-minute snag.