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
CommentaryTrump’s Iran Policy Is a Failure
This month’s attack on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities marked a stunning escalation of tensions in the Middle East. The scale, sophistication, and accuracy of the strikes all ...
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas
CommentaryThe Most Dangerous Moment of the Trump Presidency
For all of the uncertainty of the Trump administration’s nearly three years in power, genuine international crises have been rare. That’s changing right now. The attack a week...
By Richard Fontaine
PodcastIlan Goldenberg on Iran, Europe, and the United States
CNAS Senior Fellow and Middle East Security Program Director Ilan Goldenberg joins Andrea Kendall-Taylor and Jim Townsend for an in-depth look at the current situation in the ...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Andrea Kendall-Taylor & Jim Townsend
ReportsEscalation or Negotiation?
In May 2019, the Center hosted an all-day tabletop exercise to game out three scenarios related to the crisis surrounding U.S.-Iran tensions over Iran’s nuclear enrichment pro...
By Elisa Catalano Ewers, Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras & Kaleigh Thomas