Nate Jackson / April 25, 2017

This Iran Deal’s Getting Worse All the Time

Now that the Trump administration has found Iran to be in “compliance,” we learn a bit more about what that means.

During the campaign, Donald Trump trashed Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran as the “worst deal ever negotiated,” and rightfully so. It was, after all, the sum of all lies. So when the Trump administration announced a review of the deal and that Iran was currently in compliance with it, leftists smugly responded, “We told you so.” As if that proved the genius of the deal.

National Review’s Jonathan Tobin explains, “Those who focus on Iranian compliance are missing the big picture about both the consequences of the nuclear deal and the chances for reversing the colossal mistake Obama made with Iran. As Trump and his foreign-policy team are realizing, the issue isn’t so much whether the letter of a deal that will expire within a decade is observed as it is what role Iran is playing in the region while its economy recovers and its nuclear program remains a long-term problem. The threatening talk from Washington isn’t a flimsy cover for a flip-flop. It’s a recognition that the Iranian threat was actually exacerbated by Obama’s gambit.”

How so? Well, for starters, Iran got to keep its nuclear infrastructure, including the ability to continue enriching uranium, all while inspecting itself at its primary weaponization facility. That’s right — Iran can advance its program while still “complying” with the deal. Eight years from now, Iran is free to finish its development of nuclear weapons effectively with the stamp of approval from the West. And as long as Iran is in “compliance,” Trump is going to find it difficult to justify rescinding the deal. Besides, North Korea already has the bomb, meaning our allies are less interested in revisiting the Iran agreement than dealing with the crazy guy firing missiles every other week.

Moreover, Obama paid the mullahs $1.7 billion in clandestinely delivered cash in a hostage deal — in which he also released Iranian spies. Flush with that money and some sanctions relief, Iran has no reason to rush, and every reason not to. Iran is gaining regional hegemony, including propping up Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, which the deal did not address at all. Iran thus has practically everything it wanted. Trump’s challenge is figuring out how to renew pressure on Iran and advance U.S. national security interests in the region. Simple enough, right?

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