In 2015, President Barack Obama led a global effort to restrict Iran. However, closer inspection reveals that the Iran Deal enables the country to obtain what it wants most: a nuclear weapon.
On 14 July 2015, six global powers and Iran agreed on a historic deal that had been in the making for the past three years. The global nations known as P5+1 were made up of global nations including the US, Russia, and the UK. The deal, which is still in effect, was meant to be a sign of unity and understanding from both sides: Iran would limit its nuclear programme in exchange for relief from nuclear sanctions. While the deal looks promising at first, a closer look reveals an uncomfortable truth: Iran will continue its nuclear aspirations, and while the Iran Deal might slow down the process, it also helps enable future global terrorism.
Known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran Deal focuses on limiting Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon. Uranium, the main chemical in an atomic bomb, used to be produced at a much heavier and faster pace, but the deal seeks to exponentially decrease uranium enrichment in the country. In order to make the right type of uranium for a nuclear weapon (the isotope U-235), Iran needs centrifuges, a machine that applies force to certain materials, to split the isotopes from each other. The fewer the centrifuges, the more time it would take to have the right chemical makeup for a nuclear weapon. By decreasing uranium production and lowering the number of centrifuges, Iran’s pathway towards its goal becomes longer than expected. According to the New York Times, “It [Iran] would not have enough material, or centrifuges running, to make a bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium in less than a year.”
“Iran agreed to provide inspectors more access to its nuclear program [sic] and allow investigation of suspicious sites, but there are no guarantees.”
– The New York Times
On a technical and scientific level, the Iran Deal should work; take away the materials and the production becomes more difficult. The problem lies in Iran itself. Just because the country signed the agreement doesn’t mean that it will follow the terms. Many politicians point to Iran’s violent history as a sign that it cannot be trusted. On the other side, a popular talking point is that Iran hasn’t started a war in 200-250 years. Besides the fact that such a statement isn’t entirely true, Iran is still the top sponsor of terrorism in the world, lacks civil rights for its own citizens, and chants “Death to America” in political street exhibitions.
How can we trust a country that hates America to abide by its rules? We can’t.
Since the deal was signed in July of 2015, Iran has tested ballistic missiles that are, according to the United Nations Security Council, “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons” four times. That act itself is in defiance of council resolution 2231 which, “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” While Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles is not a direct defiance of the Iran Deal, it is a sign of its true intentions and their indifference to global legislation.
What’s the best course of action the P5+1 could take right now? To sit back down and edit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The first edit must target how the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspects the facilities Iran uses. In the current deal, Iran is allowed 24 days to prepare before an inspection occurs, and while Obama and supporters of the deal assure citizens that it’s impossible for Iran to hide their nuclear work in the near-month timeslot allotted, history and science say otherwise. In short, Iran will be able to hide nuclear work from the IAEA just in time of inspection and even be allowed to inspect itself in certain cases. The P5+1 must propose a new form of the Iran Deal that allows the IAEA to inspect any facility at any time.
The second edit must focus on the sanction relief America has so warmly given to Iran. Rather than constrict Iran’s economy, America has relieved Iran of previous sanctions that were put in place. Now, Iran will be gaining $100bn worth of frozen assets that it can use for whatever purpose the country sees fit. Even John Kerry, the Secretary of State and one of the key figures in the arrangement of the Iran Deal, admitted that some of the money would go to terrorism. The question is: How much? And how much can we allow?
The P5+1 needs to reinforce the strict sanctions on Iran until it stops funding and supporting terrorist networks. Unless the nation can prove that it is heading in the right direction, we cannot be giving it billions to use for its nuclear desires and to support terror around the world, such as Palestinian violence against Israel.
The Obama Administration started a deal with a country that we cannot trust. Although the deal itself limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities, that will only happen if, and only if, Iran follows by the rules laid out by the UN. The nation has not shown any hesitation in defying UN resolutions in the past, so why would it stop now? We need to have a serious conversation about the flexibility we have given to Iran with the current state of the deal and whether we want a nation that burns American flags to gain billions of dollars. The Iran Deal needs major improvements if it is truly to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
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After 12 years of on-off negotiations, Iran has agreed to a deal on its nuclear programme with six major world powers. Despite heavy criticism on both sides, the deal is, without a doubt, the best possible outcome of the situation.