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Monday, February 6, 2017
Bolton: The Iran Deal Can't Be Enforced
Iran’s continued missile testing on Saturday has given President Trump one more reason to tear up his predecessor’s deal with the regime in Tehran. After Iran’s Jan. 29 ballistic-missile launch, the Trump administration responded with new sanctions and tough talk. But these alone won’t have a material effect on Tehran or its decades-long effort to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons.
The real issue is whether America will abrogate Barack Obama’s deal with Iran, recognizing it as a strategic debacle, a result of the last president’s misguided worldview and diplomatic malpractice. Terminating the agreement would underline that Iran is already violating it, clearly intends to continue pursuing nuclear arms, works closely with North Korea in seeking deliverable nuclear weapons, and continues to support international terrorism and provocative military actions. Escaping from the Serbonian Bog that Obama’s negotiations created would restore the resolute leadership and moral clarity the U.S. has lacked for eight years.
But those who supported the Iran deal, along with even many who had opposed it, argue against abrogation. Instead they say that America should “strictly enforce” the deal’s terms and hope that Iran pulls out. This would be a mistake for two reasons. First, the strategic miscalculations embodied in the deal endanger the U.S. and its allies, not least by lending legitimacy to the ayatollahs, the world’s central bankers for terrorism.
Second, “strictly enforcing” the deal is as likely to succeed as nailing Jell-O to a wall. Not only does the entire agreement reflect appeasement, but President Obama’s diplomacy produced weak, ambiguous and confusing language in many specific provisions. These drafting failures created huge loopholes, and Iran is now driving its missile and nuclear programs straight through them.