The always great Max Fisher thinks that, This Is an Astonishingly Good Iran Deal. I don’t know that I’m astonished, but I agree with him that it is a really good deal — for everyone. Well, for everyone who is interested in the well-being of the the world. I know that there are a lot of conservative politicians who will be very unhappy with this deal precisely because it is good. But I don’t think we need to worry too much about the fact that the Republican Party is unhappy because it’s suffered a political defeat. But I’ll admit: I don’t think the Iranian regime is especially interested in acquiring a nuclear weapon — but they’ve got to be pleased that the idea of it has provided leverage to allow this deal that will be good for its people. And this deal ought to make westerners who are not like me feel safer about any Iranian threat.
Fisher quoted nuclear proliferation expert Aaron Stein as saying that the inspection regime represents something of a Platonic ideal. Of course, this is just the framework deal. There is still the chance that those who will only be satisfied with war will mess the whole things up. God knows they have done their very best to do it up until now. Thankfully, conservatives have a long history of incompetence. In fact, it more than ideology is what most defines them. But there is still one real issue that could cause problems: trust. Neither side wants to go first. Iran wants the sanctions lifted first. I don’t see that there is a problem here, but you never know.
As for what is in the deal, well, it is impressive. Iran is giving up 70% of its centrifuges. And not just any centrifuges. It is giving up the best ones. The ones that remain will be the most basic 1970s models. It is also giving up 97% of its enriched Uranium. Finally, it will get rid of its Plutonium plant and replace it with a plant that cannot enrich weapons grade Plutonium. As Fisher noted, “Iran would simply not have much of its nuclear program left after all this.”
Of course, I know none of this matters to conservatives. In their minds, Iran is like a James Bond villain: super intelligent, sneaky, and totally untrustworthy. In other words, the Iranian leadership has been totally dehumanized by the conservatives. And that means they aren’t thinking straight. A good example of this is the claim I seem to be hearing everywhere that after this agreement, Iran will be able to create a nuclear weapon in just a year. What is never mentioned is that by the same calculations, Iran could currently create a bomb in two or three months.
If we listen to the conservatives who hate this deal, there is only one option: war with Iran. But as I discussed in, We Need to Think Before Bombing Iran, full-scare war with Iran would be a huge mistake, even if it were politically viable. But if we are just planning to bomb the nuclear facilities, we would have to do it constantly. And in the end, it probably wouldn’t work because the Iranians are not idiots.
But that is the key to what most conservatives in the US want. They don’t want a deal. They don’t really want to go to war. They just want to pose as the hard men (even the women) they think they are. It reminds me of Tom Clancy Combat Concepts. It’s all about presenting an image of themselves. Don’t get me wrong: we all care about that. But these are traitors who care more about looking like they are being strong for the country than they do about actually protecting the country.
The central focus of this agreement is the inspection regime, which is rigorous. As Fisher detained, the only way that Iran can build a nuclear weapon is to do it completely apart from its existing nuclear energy program. And that would be almost impossible to do without detection. And note: it would be just as possible — if not more so — if we went the route of the bombing campaign that conservatives in this country and Israel are so keen on.
What’s really interesting about this deal is that it is better than even supporters had hoped. Needless to say, it is far better than those arguing against had hoped. For example, one of the criticisms was that it wouldn’t include weapons delivery systems like ballistic missiles. But it turns out it does. Will that matter to critics? Of course not. Being against this deal is the starting point for critics; the reasons are just details added later. But it looks like the critics have lost this one — at least until the start of 2017.