In several days, President Donald Trump will almost certainly refuse to certify that Iran is complying with its obligations under the nuclear deal. While this doesn’t amount to walking away from the agreement, it certainly places it in peril.
The deal’s critics focus on two central points: expiration dates and bad behavior. The first point underscores concerns that elements of the agreement, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), expire in 10 to 15 years, after which limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment capability go away. The second point highlights Iran’s continued destabilizing activities, including ballistic missile development and support for surrogates and proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.
These questions are real. But for us, two former Pentagon officials in the Bush and Obama administrations who worked on Iran and the broader Middle East, today’s debates sound almost quaint compared to the questions we were grappling with in those years. These days, we cannot forget where America was before the breakthroughs of 2013 and 2015, which first froze the Iranian nuclear program and then rolled it back.
Read the full op-ed in The Atlantic.