April 23, 2016


Why It's Too Late to Scrap the Iran Deal (Steve Chapman, 4/21/16, Reason)

What would we lose from renouncing the deal? Just every concession Iran had to make and implement. So far, it has submitted to an outside inspection regime, scrapped some 12,000 centrifuges, shipped 98 percent of its nuclear fuel to Russia and wrecked a nuclear reactor. Without the deal, Iran would be free to evict the international monitors and resume the activities it was compelled to stop. 

In exchange for those curbs, the Obama administration agreed to lift some economic sanctions and release some $100 billion in Iranian funds that had been frozen. The latter is what Trump had in mind when he charged, "We give them $150 billion, we get nothing." That's what Cruz was talking about last summer when he claimed the deal would make Obama "the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism." 

But we didn't give Iranians that money; it was theirs all along. Regaining access to it was one of the chief incentives for them to negotiate. In any case, they got their money. And it does not seem to have dawned on Trump or Cruz that they are not about to give it back. 

For us to abandon the agreement would mean the Iranians would keep those funds but be released from their obligations. They'd get to keep the new car without making the payments. 

The Republicans talk as though we control everything. But the deal was not just between Iran and the U.S.; it included China, Russia, France, Germany, Britain and the entire European Union. The other signatories might not be content to behave like potted plants. If we abandoned the accord, they'd blame us. 

The U.S. could restore the old sanctions, which wouldn't have much force because we'd be alone. Even our European allies probably wouldn't follow suit--to say nothing of the Chinese and Russians. More likely, they'd all rush to grab the business opportunities created by our absence. Good for Airbus and Lenovo; bad for Boeing and Apple. 

Posted by at April 23, 2016 1:36 PM