The US-Iran Deal

I’m wrapping up a long piece about Cuba which I’ll publish later tonight, so I’m going to outsource my reaction to the US-Iran “deal” first to Mike Doran at the Brookings Institution and second to the Canadian government.

You should definitely read Doran’s entire analysis, but here’s the bottom line:

The nuclear deal will further subject the Arab world to the tender mercies of the Revolutionary Guards. Iran will now have more money — our money — to channel to proxies such as Hezbollah. Washington cannot expose the mailed fist of the Qods Force without endangering the nuclear rapprochement, so it has a positive incentive to ignore all Iranian subversion and intimidation in the region.

Whether he realizes it, Obama has now announced that the United States cannot be relied upon to stand up to Iran. Therefore, Israel and our Arab allies will be forced to live by their wits. Some actors, like the Saudis, will prosecute their proxy war with Iran with renewed vehemence. Others will simply hedge. They will make a beeline to Tehran, just as many regional actors began showing up in Moscow after the Syrian chemical weapons deal. American influence will further deteriorate.

That, in sum, is the true price that we just paid for six months of seeming quiet on the nuclear front. It is price in prestige, which most Americans will not notice. It is also a price in blood. But it is not our blood, so Americans will also fail to make the connection between the violence and the nuclear deal. It is important to note, however, that this is just the initial price. Six months from now, when the interim agreement expires, another payment to Ayatollah Khamenei will come due. If Obama doesn’t pony up, he will have to admit then that he cut a bad deal now. So he we will indeed pay — through the nose.

America’s Arab and Israeli allies aren’t the only ones who refuse to go along with this. Canada is taking a hard line, as well.

The Canadian government released the following statement: “Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic measure should be taken to ensure Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. We appreciate the earnest efforts of the P5+1.

“Effective sanctions have brought the regime to present a more moderate front and open the door to negotiations. Today's deal cannot be abused or undermined by deception. The Iranian people deserve the freedom and prosperity that they have been denied for too long by the regime's nuclear ambitions. Until then, Canadian sanctions will remain tough, and in full force.”

Ottawa’s Foreign Affairs minister John Baird added that “past actions best predict future actions, and Iran has defied the United Nation Security Council and defied International Atomic Energy Agency. Simply put, Iran has not earned the right to have the benefit of the doubt.”

UPDATE: My first dispatch from Cuba is up now if you're interested.

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