March 02, 2015

Better Than the Alternatives

By Ilan Goldenberg

The Obama administration is pursuing an imperfect deal with Iran, but one that is far superior to any of the realistic alternatives. Critics argue that instead of the current approach, the United States should pursue a policy that leaves Iran with no nuclear capabilities. Such an outcome would be ideal, but it is impossible to achieve. The issue of nuclear enrichment has become a question of national pride for Iran – a nation that in the past has refused to submit to international pressure in the face of an eight-year war with Iraq that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Iranian surrender is simply not a realistic option.

This means that the only alternative to an agreement is a return to the conflict and sanctions that existed before the nuclear negotiations began. If the talks collapse, the United States will impose tougher sanctions and Iran will restart its nuclear program, which has been frozen for the past year. Very soon the United States may be forced to choose between military action that could result in a major regional war or the equally unappealing option of allowing Iran to become a nuclear weapons state.

Read the full response in U.S. News and World Report.

  • Commentary
    • February 3, 2021
    Sharper: Iran

    While President Biden has publicly committed to reengaging Iran, his administration faces immediate challenges....

    By Kaleigh Thomas, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Commentary
    • The National Interest
    • January 19, 2021
    Could Europe’s INSTEX Help Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?

    Supporting INSTEX would illustrate not only that “America is back,” but that the Biden administration is taking humanitarian concerns seriously without sacrificing security in...

    By ​Francis Shin

  • Commentary
    • December 16, 2020
    Sharper: 2020

    2020 featured an ever-evolving series of national security challenges....

    By Sam Dorshimer, Nathalie Grogan, Emily Jin, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens

  • Podcast
    • December 4, 2020
    How the US could return to the Iran nuclear deal

    The election of Joe Biden presents an opening to strengthen transatlantic diplomacy on Iran. Biden has already outlined his intention to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, primaril...

    By Ilan Goldenberg

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia