Five Years On, Israel’s Warnings about the Nuclear Deal with Iran Have Proved Prescient

March 10, 2020 | Yaakov Amidror, Jacob Nagel, Jonathan Schachter
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On March 3, 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu, amid much controversy, addressed a joint session of Congress to argue that the agreement the Obama administration was then negotiating with Tehran would dangerously empower the Islamic Republic while putting it on the path to developing nuclear weapons. Events since then have shown him to be right, explain Yaakov Amidror, Jacob Nagel, and Jonathan Schachter:

[An] increase in Iran’s aggression throughout the region . . . accompanied the implementation of the deal. A financially flush Qassem Suleimani led Iran’s stepped-up efforts to sow discord, terror, and bloodshed in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza, and in the region’s waterways. After the deal went into effect, and previously sanctioned assets were unfrozen, Iran’s defense budget increased by an estimated 30 to 40 percent. The funds Iran gave to Hizballah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups climbed to nearly $1 billion annually.

Iran continued to ignore [UN restrictions] on missile development and the export of weapons. Its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps began trying to establish a permanent military presence in Syria, from which it launched drone and missile attacks on Israel. Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, using Iranian missiles, accelerated. Just two months after the deal was finalized, Russia deployed its forces alongside those of a newly legitimized Iran in Syria.

We can speculate what would have happened if the United States had not withdrawn from the deal in May 2018, but by then it was abundantly clear that rather than buying Iran’s moderation, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (or JCPOA, as the agreement is formally known) had funded Iran’s aggression.

Former U.S. administration officials, as well as former and current EU officials, maintain that the JCPOA was working. We agree that the deal was doing exactly what it was designed to do: it allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium, while developing increasingly advanced centrifuge technology and nuclear-capable missiles.

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