Donate

Even If the Iran Deal Holds, It Will Expire in 2030. Then What?

July 20 2016

According to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), restrictions placed on Tehran’s nuclear program will be lifted completely after fifteen years; actually, a recently leaked secret provision of the agreement states that certain key requirements will become inoperative even earlier. John Hannah describes the consequences, and what can be done to prevent them:

Under the JCPOA, by 2030 Iran will be permitted to build an [extensive] nuclear industry. It will be able to operate an unlimited number of advanced centrifuges and accumulate as large a stockpile of fissile material as it desires. That, in theory, includes weapons-grade uranium. At that point, it would be weeks, maybe even days, away from having the fuel for a small arsenal of nuclear weapons. All of this legitimized by the United States and the rest of what passes for the international community. . . .

The sunset provisions of the JCPOA are a ticking time bomb that needs to be defused. That means disabusing Iran of the idea that the United States is prepared to accept any plans on Iran’s part to expand dramatically enrichment capability (or plutonium-reprocessing and -separation capability) once the JCPOA’s restrictions expire. . . .

As bears constant repeating, the JCPOA is not a legally binding agreement. A new president will be within his or her rights to accept it, reject it, or demand that it be modified to address core national-security concerns. That fact should bestow real leverage on the next administration as it approaches international partners [to the agreement] who will be eager to avoid the deal’s outright collapse, as well as an early blowout with a new American leader. A good-faith offer by the new president to implement the JCPOA, coupled with a reasonable demand that its most glaring deficiencies be addressed, could, with time, well win the day diplomatically—especially if backed by a credible threat to act unilaterally should it eventually prove necessary.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran nuclear program, Nuclear proliferation, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

The Palestinian National Movement Has Reached a Point of Crisis

With Hamas having failed to achieve anything through several weeks of demonstrations and violence, and Mahmoud Abbas reduced to giving rambling anti-Semitic speeches, Palestinian aspirations seem to have hit a brick wall. Elliott Abrams explains:

[Neither] Fatah [nor] Hamas offers Palestinians a practical program for national independence. . . . [The current situation] leaves Palestinians high and dry, with no way forward at all. Whatever the criticism of the “occupation,” Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. . . . There are only two other options. The first is the “one-state solution,” meaning union with Israel; but that is a nonstarter that Israel will reject no matter who is its prime minister. The other option is some kind of eventual link to Jordan.

In polite diplomatic society, and in Palestinian public discourse, such a link cannot be mentioned. But younger people who visit there, Palestinians have explained to me, can see a society that is half-Palestinian and functions as an independent nation with a working system of law and order. Jordanians travel freely, rarely suffer from terrorism, and [can vote in regular] elections, even if power is ultimately concentrated in the royal palace. The kingdom has close relations with all the Sunni states and the West, and is at peace with Israel.

The fundamental question all this raises is what, in 2018, is the nature and objective of Palestinian nationalism. Is the goal sovereignty at all costs, no matter how long it takes and even if it is increasingly divorced from peace, prosperity, and personal freedom? Is “steadfastness” [in refusing to compromise with Israel] the greatest Palestinian virtue now and forever? These questions cannot be debated in either Gaza or the West Bank. But as Israel celebrates 70 years and the “occupation” is now more than a half-century old, how much longer can they be delayed? . . .

The catastrophic mishandling of Palestinian affairs by generations of leaders from Haj Amin al-Husseini (the pro-Nazi mufti of the British Mandate period) to Yasir Arafat and now to Mahmoud Abbas has been the true Palestinian Nakba.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians