Institute for Contemporary Affairs
Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation
President Trump’s invitation to Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Washington for a summit meeting is very likely to bring into relief the whole question of the future of the P5+1 agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. As currently constituted, the Iran agreement is extremely dangerous for Israel, Western European countries, and for the United States, and requires careful consideration about whether and how the West should proceed with it.
First, the agreement doesn’t cover, in any way, ballistic missiles. Back in the early 1990s when the UN had to define which Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to destroy, it related to nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons, and ballistic missiles beyond a certain range – in those days 150 km. For some reason, when the Iran agreement was concluded, no prohibitions were put on Iran’s ballistic missile program.
Iran has the largest arsenal of missiles and it’s growing. The Iranians are testing missiles of greater range and greater potency that perhaps today can strike at Israel or Turkey, but in a decade will be able to hit the English Channel or even the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. That can’t be permitted.
A second issue, even more fundamental, is the fact that the Iran agreement has a sunset clause. That’s like a point in time in the future when the agreement is no longer in force. The Iran agreement is like a carton of milk that goes sour at some definite date in the future and what happens at that point is that Iran could then go ahead and enrich as much uranium as it wants, to whatever level it wants, including weapons-grade uranium, and the West can’t say anything or do anything about it.
If you take those missiles that the agreement allows Iran to manufacture and you marry them up with the weapons-grade uranium that Iran will be able to enrich in any quantity that it wants, what you’re left with in another decade or so is another Soviet Union, not run by godless Communists, but run by ayatollahs with a Shiite ideology, radical Islamic in intent, and extremely dangerous not just for the Middle East but for the world.
Therefore, the stakes behind these discussions over the future of the Iran agreement are so important. They’re important for the security of America, they’re important for the security of Israel, and they’re important for the security of us all.