(photo credit: IRANIAN MEDIA)
Following the signing of the Munich Agreement between Adolf Hitler and the leaders of France and Great Britain, Sir Winston Churchill warned in a speech to the House of Commons on October 5, 1938, “All these calamities fell upon us because of evil counsel...When they had done the most evil, then was peace made with them.”
Sadly, the same could be said of the comprehensive nuclear deal now being negotiated between the P5+1 nations and Iran.
Presumably, the goal of the current negotiations is to make our world a safer place.
This deal, however, is more likely to make our world a much more dangerous place.
It was a grave mistake for the P5+1 to disconnect Iran’s belligerent behavior from the negotiations over its nuclear program.See the latest opinion pieces on our Opinion & Blogs Facebook page
With Iran set to be rewarded with tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for temporary and limited concessions on its nuclear program, it will be free to use this windfall to bolster its quest for regional hegemony and its role as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.
An emboldened Iran will then have billions in funds at its discretion to give to Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis to drag the region into even more violence and bloodshed. Iran will also have more money to bankroll Bashar Assad and his unrelenting slaughter of innocent Syrian civilians.
Another grave mistake was for the P5+1 to agree to have a sunset clause built into any final nuclear deal. After the expiration of restrictions on Iran’s enrichment program, that are being negotiated to last between 10 to 15 years, Iran will be free to produce tens of thousands of centrifuges and enrich tons of uranium that could easily be diverted toward building nuclear weapons.
It was also a grave mistake to exclude Iran’s ballistic missile program from a nuclear agreement. Iran already has missiles that can reach Israel, America’s Arab allies and European capitals. Now Iran is developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that will be able to reach the United States.
The only logical reason to develop ICBMs is for them to carry nuclear warheads.
Unless the following understandings are put into place both in a formal comprehensive agreement and outside of it, we will not see “peace in our time” as British prime minster Neville Chamberlain infamously said upon his return from the meeting with Hitler in Munich. Rather we will see more war and a future where we all will live under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear nightmare.
To avoid such an outcome, the comprehensive agreement being negotiated must include these two key provisions: • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must be granted anywhere, anytime access to sites in Iran on a permanent basis. There must be no sunset clause on IAEA inspections.
• Those inspections must include military sites like Parchin, where Iran is suspected of carrying out nuclear weaponization work.
If Iran refuses to agree to these two parameters, it will be a clear indication of its intent to deceive the international community once again. Beyond the formal agreement, the United States should make unilateral public pronouncements on two key issues: • The consequences of violating the comprehensive agreement will be both immediate and severe and include the possible use of military force.
• US sanctions on Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism will remain in place. American companies will continue to be prohibited from doing business in Iran (except for humanitarian needs) until Iran ends its support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and its belligerent behavior in the region.
The coming months will be a test of leadership for President Barack Obama.
He will have to choose whether to become a Churchill or a Chamberlain. Just as the fate of the world rested on the courage of Churchill who warned of the rising danger of Nazi Germany, President Obama must see the dangers in the coming deal and clarify expectations for Iran. His failure to do so will have disastrous consequences for all of us.The author is outreach coordinator for the non-partisan advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).