Former Secretary of State John Kerry asked in anger after President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal: If your house were on fire, would you refuse to put it out just because it would catch fire again in 14 years? To him, the answer was clear: No, you wouldn’t refuse. Just because Iran could again pursue nuclear weapons under the sunset provision of the nuclear deal, it was still critically important to stop Iran from doing so for 14 years. Put out the fire now. Worry about later, later.
We would have some sympathy for this position if Kerry acknowledged that putting out the fire now still entailed world-endangering risks, but better a small victory than none. For who knows what might happen in 14 years?
However, that is not what Kerry or his boss President Obama said, and that is why, as the Wall Street Journal remarked, it was so easy for Obama’s successor — any successor — to pull out of this deal. What Team Obama claimed was that this deal closed off all paths to Iran securing nuclear weapons. That was patently untrue, and probably why Obama never submitted the deal to the US Senate for ratification as a treaty.
Which is why Donald Trump could so easily cancel it, or at least America’s participation in it. Team Obama was hoisted by its own petard.
So much for the politics. Was it wise for Trump to cancel this deal? Well, as Israel’s ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, observed on NPR: Iran is half the size of Europe. The idea that any inspection system could reliably know what is happening deep underground in a land mass this big is absurd. Especially when dealing with the liars in Iran’s national leadership. Not to mention, even the inspection system in place excluded many sensitive Iranian military locales already known.
Why break a deal that was working? its supporters ask. Well, who knows whether it was working? There was not in place a sufficient inspection system to verify that it was working. So the question really comes down to trust. Was Iran trustworthy? Any contact, no matter how tightly written, relies on at least an element of trust. Could that element reasonably have been ascribed to the Iran leaders? We think not. The documents that Iran captured and that Israel Prime Minister displayed last week demon- strated Iran’s mendacious nature of Iran’s leadership. Really, was anyone surprised?
Then take the unwritten but clearly expressed hopes that Team Obama had for this deal — that it would moderate Iran.
It did just the opposite. Israel is in more danger from Iran than it has ever been. The world is in more danger from Iran’s missiles than it has ever been. And don’t forget the Iranian adventure in Yemen, the Iranian delivery of missiles to Hezbollah; and the list goes on.
America’s target is Iran, as it should be. The fire is now, Mr. Kerry, unable to be doused by the illusion of a deal. Billy Martin once said of George Streinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, “One is a born liar, the other is convicted.” On Iran, take your pick.
Copyright © 2018 by the Intermountain Jewish News