March 18, 2015

Is the Iran Deal the New Obamacare?

By Ilan Goldenberg

Has the Iran deal become too big to fail? Last October, right-wing opponents of President Obama seized on comments by his advisor, Ben Rhodes, who suggested that the administration saw a nuclear agreement with Iran as comparable in magnitude to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in Obama’s first term. The comparison is more apt than Rhodes perhaps intended—and not just because the Iran nuclear debate has achieved levels of bitterness and partisanship reminiscent of the Obamacare fallout. Like the Affordable Care Act, if the negotiators are able to forge an initial political framework agreement in the next two weeks in Switzerland, the deal will be extraordinarily difficult to reverse.

In fact, both opponents and supporters of the deal should take a lesson from the Obamacare experience. If there is an agreement, rather than trying to fruitlessly weaken the deal as Republicans have done since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, members of Congress should look for a more constructive role. Among other things, they could seek to address perceived weaknesses in the deal—such as the “sunset clause” under which many limits on the Iranian program are eventually lifted—by enacting future-sanctions legislation that will deter Iran from ever choosing to pursue a bomb, even in the distant future. Meanwhile, the White House should find ways to more effectively engage Congress in the process.

Read the full article at POLITICO.

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Policy
    • September 25, 2019
    Trump’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

  • Commentary
    • The Atlantic
    • September 23, 2019
    The 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

  • Podcast
    • August 2, 2019
    Ilan 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

  • Reports
    • June 26, 2019
    Escalation 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

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia