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A bad Iran deal – Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan

Ivan Sascha Sheehan

The Obama administration is mistaken to be treating the Iranian regime as a permanent fixture while ignoring the Iranian people’s aspirations for a democratic, tolerant, and pluralistic state, Prof. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, director of the graduate program in Negotiations and Conflict Management in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, wrote on Friday.

“The announcement of a preliminary nuclear deal with Iran – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – touched a nerve in the U.S. body politic,” Prof. Sheehan wrote in . “Surveys also suggest that the more people learn about the Iran deal, the less they like it.”

“The numbers reflect an emerging consensus that the president squandered leverage at the negotiating table and compromised security for a false promise of cooperation.”

“By not insisting on Iranian concessions that might have prolonged negotiations and rolling over on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the president delivered Congress a cosmetic compact in which Americans have little confidence.”

“But the intoxication resulting from U.S. impotence will lead to regional instability and Iranian aggression, not peace and security.”

“Congress can factor the unpopularity of the Iran nuclear deal into their decision on what will be the most important national security choice in a generation.”

“At stake is whether Congress can do the right thing by preventing the Iranian regime from becoming a nuclear threshold state.”

“Also at issue is whether Congress has the courage to push back on the principal agent of regional instability in the Middle East at a moment when the White House lacks the fortitude to do so.”

“The 2015 Nuclear Agreement Review Act requires that Congress engage in oversight sufficient to ensure the agreement is verifiable, enforceable, and cuts off pathways to the bomb.”

“But the porous agreement lacks the teeth necessary to ensure unfettered inspections, document developmental thresholds crossed, or certify compliance in a credible way.”

“The deal also fails to provide meaningful contingency planning for the regime’s attempts at nuclear breakout and sneakout.”

“With a deadline looming, bipartisan analyses by leading academics, prominent former White House officials, and credible analysts have created a climate conducive to evidence-based opposition to the White House.”

“Congress can take action on the nuclear agreement by insisting that any deal that doesn’t include the transparency of unfettered inspections by IAEA inspectors will be rejected. They can also build in contingencies for enhanced sanctions under the premise that they remain useful for ensuring Tehran’s continued compliance.”

“But at the end of the day Tehran fears internal dissent more than they fear external threats – even the credible threat of preemptive force – and the prospect of regime change via the organized opposition (MEK/PMOI) is what keeps the regime’s theocratic rulers awake at night.”

“The principal Obama mistake is treating the regime as a permanent fixture while ignoring the Iranian people’s aspirations for a democratic, tolerant, and pluralistic state.”

“As the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism, the regime enables violent proxies inside the borders of other nations, interferes in domestic Iraqi affairs, props up the Assad regime in Syria, supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, backs Hamas in the Gaza strip, and aids Houthi rebels in Yemen.”

“The regime is also responsible for a deplorable and deteriorating human rights situation at home.”

“Congress can lean in on Iran by rejecting the nuclear agreement and giving the ayatollahs a clear choice between collapse of the regime or compromise on the nuclear issue,” Dr. Sheehan added.

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