“The most significant problem with this agreement,” says Ido Arahoni, the consul general of Israel in New York, “which is discussed far too little, is that it does nothing to address, much less curb, Iran’s expansionist, anti-Israel, anti-American motivations.”
This anti-Americanism was on display once again on Thursday when the Associated Press reported that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said American and Canadian inspectors in the International Atomic Energy Agency would not be allowed onto Iranian soil to verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement or to help complete the probe of the past military dimensions of the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran’s ability to deny such access may be written into the terms of sideline agreements that were signed between Iran and the IAEA at roughly the same time as the agreement between Iran and the P5+1. That is to say, the details are not yet public knowledge.
Business Insider reported on Thursday that even US Secretary of State John Kerry admits he has not seen the text of these sideline agreements, but has only been generally briefed on their contents. For critics of the nuclear negotiations that concluded on July 14, this is another sign that the Obama administration has been giving Iran too wide a berth and trusting it too much to complete the steps toward verification and transparency on its own.
Many of these same critics regard this stance as simultaneously weakening the American position in the world and legitimizing the theocratic regime in place in Tehran. Both of these consequences were cited by political scientist Professor Ephraim Inbar in his description of six key points on which the nuclear agreement fails to live up to goals of defending global security.
Communities Digital News explains that Inbar also regards the deal as contributing to the risk of nuclear proliferation in the broader Middle East, degrading the relationship between the US and Israel, shifting the balance of power in favor of an expanded Iranian role in the region, and increasing the threat posts by Islamic terrorism thanks to the effect of sanctions relief on Iranian financing.
This latter point was emphasized by Fox News on Thursday when it quoted two foreign policy experts on the subject: Hudson Institute adjunct fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs and former US ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli.
“We should expect some of this money to go toward terrorism,” said Heinrichs referring to the hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions relief that Iran will receive, including as much as 150 billion in immediately released assets after the deal goes into effect. “There is no indication the Iranians will change their ways. In fact, the deal states that Iran does not have to – the relief of sanctions is not contingent upon the Iranians changing their ways.”
The Military Times pointed out on Wednesday that Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential hopeful, attempted to bring this issue into focus by asking Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to release the list of an estimated 500 names of American servicemen whose deaths can be linked to Iran.
During the US-Iraq War, Iranian-made explosive devices began to appear in the hands of Iraqi militants in 2005 and for years they remained the most deadly weapons used against American soldiers.
Naturally, opponents of the Iranian regime believe that any boost to the Iranian economy will increase the risk of more Iranian technology and know-how being directed against American personnel and American interests in the Middle East, where Iran has already raised the ire of traditional American allies with its support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The danger of Iran’s supplying arms to militants is perhaps exacerbated by the normalization of relations with other countries, allowing Iran to buy and sell weapons more freely. Under the terms of the nuclear agreement, restrictions on Iran’s conventional arms sales will end in five years or less, and restrictions on ballistic missiles will end in eight.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Russia announced it was at work on updating the S-300 missile system that it originally planned to deliver to Iran in 2010 before international outcry delayed completion of the sale. It has long been understood that the transfer of those weapons would go ahead once a nuclear deal was successfully completed.
By raising the issue of Iran’s targeting of US servicemen, Cruz has arguably given more ammunition to opponents of the nuclear agreement who hope to raise enough votes in the US Congress to keep economic sanctions in place and effectively scuttle the deal. This will require a great deal of support from Democrats, but the Obama administration seems to face a real risk of losing the support of members of its own party.
On Thursday, CNN reported that in addition to giving a presentation to the Democratic caucus on the nuclear deal, the president has been holding one-on-one meetings with congressional Democrats, including Eliot Engel, the highest ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and an acknowledged skeptic of the Iran nuclear deal.