Alan Dershowitz on the Iran deal

Harvard Law School professor Alan M. Dershowitz made this argument against the proposed deal with Iran.

Does the proposed deal with Iran actually prevent the Mullahs from ever developing a nuclear weapon?  Or does it merely delay them for a period of years? That is the key question that has not yet been clearly answered.

Alan M. Dershowitz

Alan M. Dershowitz

In his statement on the deal, President Obama seemed to suggest that Iran will never be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. He said that this “long-term deal with Iran… will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.” … …

But is that what the deal itself does?  Or, as stated by its critics, does it actually assure that Iran will be allowed to develop a nuclear arsenal after a short delay of several years?  That is the key question that the Obama administration has refused to answer directly.  It must do so before Congress can be asked to buy a pig in a poke for the American people.

There is an enormous difference between a deal that merely delays Iran’s development of a nuclear arsenal for a period of years and a deal that prevents Iran from ever developing a nuclear arsenal.

via Gatestone Institute.

It is perfectly true that the Iran nuclear deal does not present Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons capability.   Every advanced industrial nation has the capacity to develop nuclear weapons if it so chooses.

What the deal does is to prevent Iran from secretly developing nuclear weapons capability.

So long as the terms of the deal are observed, any action to manufacture plutonium or weapons-grade uranium would be transparent and would take a long enough period of time for United States or other countries to act.

It also is the case that continuation of sanctions will not prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons.  In fact, Iran is further along toward developing weapons-grade uranium (although not very far) than it will be under the agreement.

If I were an Iranian leader, and I thought that sanctions would continue no matter what, I would go ahead with the uranium enrichment program.  As the saying goes, you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

Remember:  The agreement was not just between the United States and Iran, but also involved the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China.  These other five nations would not continue economic sanctions even if the United States balked.

The real significance of the agreement is that the lifting of crippling economic sanctions against Iran will change the balance of power in the Middle East.  Iran will be relatively stronger and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf emirates and Israel will be relatively weaker.

The Iranian governments and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are effective enemies of the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) and the pro-Al Qaeda Sunni militias.   The anti-Iranian governments in the Middle East are not.  If the U.S. government is serious about fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda, it makes sense to join forces with Iran.

I often criticize President Obama and his foreign policy, but I am glad to be able to acknowledge his statesmanship in the Iran negotiations.


Does this Deal Prevent Iran from Developing a Nuclear Weapon? by Alan M. Dershowitz for the Gatestone Institute.  (Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack)

Historic Iran nuke deal resets Asia’s ‘Great Game’ by Pepe Escobar for Asia Times.

Did rise of Daesh /ISIL ensure Iran nuclear deal? by Juan Cole for Informed Comment.


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One Response to “Alan Dershowitz on the Iran deal”

  1. John Pennington Says:

    If Mr. Dershowitz knows of any political agreement that is intended to last forever, I’d like to know what it is.


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