The Iran nuclear agreement once again took center stage at the recent AIPAC meeting (“Sights Set Squarely on Iran,” March 25). That agreement could and should have been tougher on Iran but was probably the best our allies would agree to. But the debate today is not on whether this is a good agreement, it is on how we proceed now that the U.S., our allies and Iran all have signed on.
Should we enforce the agreement and hold Iran to scrupulously honor its commitments, or should we rescind the agreement and attempt to negotiate a better deal? Here I strongly disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC who are calling for tearing up the treaty. Recall that U.S. sanctions on Iran never brought Iran to the bargaining table. It was only when our European allies and China agreed to stop importing Iranian oil that Iran agreed to negotiate. Now that these allies have signed on to the agreement, they are once again importing Iranian oil, so, in effect, our leverage on Iran is gone.
For us now to unilaterally abrogate the agreement would be the height of foolishness. It would allow Iran to resume nuclear bomb development, and it would be us, the U.S., that would be held by world powers as the one to blame. And it doesn’t take a Donald Trump to tell us that you don’t attempt to renegotiate an agreement after you have lost your leverage. What frightens me is how supposedly smart people — like those running AIPAC and Netanyahu — can advocate such an absolutely foolish idea.