Perhaps more than anything else, what is troubling about the potential US-Iranian deal is that there are no indications that it will make the Middle East a more peaceful region. More likely, the deal will only escalate the conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites as well as help Iran establish hegemony over the region and dominate the other countries.
Supporters of the deal cite the fact that both the U.S. and Iran are currently fighting against the Islamic State as a central reason to support the deal, but that objective is shortsighted. What happens after we defeat the Islamic State militants? The ugly reality is that there are few common goals for the U.S. and Iran to work together on because we are on opposing sides in virtually every other conflict in the Middle East.
This deal doesn’t force Iran to give up its nuclear enrichment program. This deal doesn’t change the fact that Iran is supporting the Houthi Rebels in Yemen, the terrorist organization Hezbollah and the genocidal dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria. What the deal does do is lift decades of sanctions off Iran, giving it the opportunity to grow even more powerful (economically, militarily and politically) and better fund their terrorist, rebel and genocidal allies.
I would argue that the U.S. made this mistake once in the past already, when it normalized relations with the People’s Republic of China. At the time, the goal was to play the weaker China against the more powerful Soviet Union, but what we ended up doing was letting the enemy pawn become the enemy queen. Today, China is our biggest geopolitical foe, and in hindsight, the Soviet Union probably would have fallen without normalizing relations with China. This time, the mistake could be more catastrophic, as the Middle East is in a greater state of turmoil and chaos.
By suspending the sanctions on Iran, we will see similar results; there will be no peace and stability in the Middle East. A more powerful Iran is a more dangerous Iran. In particular, the potential deal would only limit Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons for 10 years. A limit that Iran is in a better position to violate once other countries start investing in them, because it would be a lot harder for the international community to come together and re-impose sanctions retroactively. Iran also has a history of lying, deceiving and violating international agreements.
The terms of this deal are felt as a betrayal by our allies and a threat to their very existence. First-year law student and former Texans for Israel President Ben Mendelson summed up this sentiment.
“If there’s one thing the Jewish people have learned in 2,000 years, it’s that if someone says they want to kill you, believe them,” Mendelson said.
I do not believe that diplomacy should be off the table with Iran, but there should be a few more conditions that are met for such a deal: Iran must foster peace in the Middle East, give up its nuclear enrichment program and stop supporting terrorists, rebels and dictators.
These conditions are not something I came up with. In fact, President Barack Obama stated in a 2012 presidential debate and in numerous other instances that Iran needs to end its nuclear program before sanctions can be lifted. Democrats and Republicans, as well as the United Nation, have supported these conditions. Once these conditions are met, I would be the first to write in favor of a deal with Iran. But they weren’t met.
Under the current deal, Iran would pose an even greater threat in the future. This is because they are allowed to keep their nuclear weapons program at a level conducive to the development of nuclear weapons within a year. In addition, there can be no peace in the Middle East as long as Iran continues supporting terrorists, rebels and dictators, as it regularly does.
We should not be making a bad deal only to accomplish short-term objectives, such as defeating the Islamic State. We should not be making a deal that does not set the foundation for long-term peace and stability in the region. At minimum, we should never make a deal that leaves the region worse off than before, which is precisely what this deal does. This is not a question of deal or no deal, but rather terrible deal or no deal. Though it might be tempting to accept any deal as better than nothing, we are just getting ripped off and swindled here.
Hung is a first-year law student from Brownsville.