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August 03, 2015

Iran Deal Enforcement Hoax Revealed in, Yes, NY Times

Even the New York Times sometimes gets it right. In this case, not with its reporting but by bucking the editorial pages’ usual practice and running an Op-Ed that doesn’t wholeheartedly embrace Obama administration arguments.

In “The Iran Deal’s Dangerous Precedent,” former American Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton writes about the extremely flawed enforcement provisions in the proposed Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action:

If Iran is caught transgressing, Mr. Obama’s plan is not to use force, but to apply “snapback sanctions.” His administration has argued repeatedly that such sanctions (or even new sanctions) will deter or punish violations, keeping the deal on track and Iran clear of nuclear weapons. This rationale conforms to the underlying logic for the talks themselves: If sanctions brought Iran to the table, then sanctions will keep the deal viable once implementation begins.

Unfortunately, the mechanism to address violations is as flawed as the deal’s underlying logic. For the president’s predictions of Iranian behavior to come true (and they are central to successful implementation), Tehran must recognize the inevitability of the pain their country will suffer for straying from compliance.

Yet the very language of the Vienna deal demonstrates the opposite. In two provisions (Paragraphs 26 and 37), Iran rejects the legitimacy of sanctions coming back into force. These passages expressly provide, in near identical words, that “Iran has stated that if sanctions are reinstated in whole or in part, Iran will treat that as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA” — Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — “in whole or in part.”

Thus the inexorable pattern will not be: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran resumes compliance. Quite the reverse. The far more likely future is: Iran violates the deal; sanctions snap back; Iran tells us, using a diplomatic term of art, to take our deal and stuff it.

Abrogating the deal, of course, would come only after Iran had reaped the economic benefits of having its assets unfrozen and the sanctions ended.

The Times has a documented practice of tilting its opinion pages against Israel, and has embraced the proposed Iran deal which Israeli leaders across the political spectrum believe poses a serious, even existential threat to Israel. At least in this case, the paper has freed a few column inches for a real opposing point of view.

Posted by SC at August 3, 2015 03:14 PM

Comments

Maybe there is a god after all.

Posted by: Shira Macklin at August 4, 2015 04:07 PM

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