After Iran Deal Exit, What’s Next Most Critical
By Nancy G. Brinker
May 10, 2018
The Iran deal is no more.
Many diplomacy and intelligence experts have weighed in on whether the deal — also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was ultimately making America and the world safer. While there is merit on both sides of this debate, what cannot be argued is that the agreement was willfully wrapped in a false narrative and sold to Congress, the press, and the American people as something it wasn’t.
There is nothing more important to America’s security and our allies in the Mideast than preventing the spread of nuclear weapons among rogue states.
The question to be answered at this point is what comes next.
Democrats and Republicans agree that the Iran Deal was negotiated and implemented with significant flaws. In fact, bipartisan majorities in both chambers of Congress voted against the deal. After debating a resolution of disapproval on the JCPOA in 2016, the U.S. Senate moved to a vote to end debate on the subject, which required 60 votes. But with a vote of 58-42 in favor, Democrats filibustered the measure and prevented the resolution of disapproval from coming to a vote.
In the House, opponents of the deal, led by current U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, passed a notable resolution claiming that Obama did not submit all the elements of the deal to Congress as required by the Iran Nuclear Review Act.
Perhaps the JCPOA would have received more support in Congress and from the American people if it wasn’t wrapped inside a false narrative. In a 2016, Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser for strategic communications, informed The New York Times Magazine that he helped promote a “narrative” that the administration started negotiations with Iran after Hassan Rouhani was elected president in 2013.
In fact, the administration’s negotiations actually began earlier, with the country’s more ideologically extreme Islamic faction, well before Rouhani’s election.
Rhodes said, “The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns . . . They literally know nothing.”
If the Iran deal was so virtuous, why did it require the selling of a false narrative to reporters? The American public? To Congress?
It has been widely reported that Iran is still working on its nuclear program.
The 10 year nuclear deal also directed billions of dollars to Iran — reportedly shipped to the hostile state on pallets. Billions more flowed into Iran because of the of unfreezing of financial accounts around the world as a result of lifted sanctions. Instead of using this money to support the Iranian people, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) has found that the regime has been used to supplement increased arms development by the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.
The FDD has identified as many as 23 ballistic missile launches by Iran since the conclusion of the July 2015 nuclear deal.
So, what comes next? Some administration officials have sought to negotiate with our European partners for an alleged fix to the Iran deal. The problem is that “fixes” fail to deal with the agreement’s serious flaws — identified by Democrats and Republicans alike.
President Trump should sustain and build upon elements of President Obama’s approach, including multilateral outreach, compliance assurances and strong verification measures. This should be merged with the imposition of crippling economic sanctions against the regime, as well as nations who finance them.
The American people and our allies, including Israel, deserve better than a toothless deal that paves the Iranian regime’s path to nuclear weapons. It’s also abundantly clear that any new foreign policy approach must be sanctioned by Congress and presented honestly to the American people to ensure its long-term stability.
Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer charity, has served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary, U.S. chief of protocol, and as a Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control to the U.N.’s World Health Organization. She is continuing her work in efforts to end death from cancer.