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.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharper: U.S. Strategy in the Middle East
CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation surrounding the future of U.S. strategy in the Middle East....
By Kaleigh Thomas, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryOn Iran, the Next Administration Must Break With the Past
The United States can address its discord with Iran and calibrate a smart and clear-eyed policy for the Middle East....
By Elisa Catalano Ewers, Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas
ReportsToward a More Proliferated World?
U.S. policy must adapt unless Washington wants to be faced with a more proliferated world in the future....
By Eric Brewer, Ilan Goldenberg, Joseph Rodgers, Maxwell Simon & Kaleigh Thomas
CommentarySharper: The Future of U.S. Sanctions Policy
Sanctions are increasingly common in U.S. foreign policy and economic statecraft. But they are not a cure-all....
By Kaleigh Thomas, Cole Stevens & Chris Estep