David Solimini Profile picture
May 8, 2018 20 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Two things necessary for responsible coverage of the #IranDeal today:

First: Pressing the president and his team on WHY break the agreement now? What about it, *specifically,* is a problem?

If the answer is "it's not permanent," then why not extend it, rather than kill it? 1//
If the answer is about missiles or other bad behavior, then "how does leaving the deal make [that thing] any better?" Ex, "Couldn't they build a bomb to put on those missiles now?" or "Isn't it harder to stop their destabilizing behavior if they have a nuke?" 2/?
It's rather transparent that the arguments *for breaking our word aren't any good. There are credible arguments that the deal is imperfect, but none that the world WITHOUT the deal is better than the world WITH the deal. Leaving doesn't make anything better. 3/?
Second: What are the consequences of breaking our word? If they can't articulate the benefits of the move, then the burden is on them to show the consequences aren't big.

Spoiler: They might be very big. 4/?
Consequences route A: Without the agreement, Iran could decide to kick out inspectors and restart their nuclear program. Then we'd have no idea how far it was progressing because the people and cameras and seals and locks used to keep an eye on things would be gone. 5/?
...which means in about a year, Iran would be *right back where they were in 2015,* on the threshold of making a nuclear weapon *if they chose to do so.* 6/?
...and the administration's "solution" to that problem is almost certainly kinetic. It's the John Bolton Way.

And, by the way, it's not as if our allies would be interested in helping us this time because it would *be our fault* -- we'd be going it alone against Iran. 7
Consequences Route B: Iran could decide to stay in the deal, keep the inspectors, and continue to follow the rules. The Europeans say "Listen, they're keeping their word, so we're keeping our word." This isolates the US from our allies and puts them ostensibly on Iran's side. 8
Thus the US is forced to choose between punishing our allies and friends (via secondary sanctions) for following an agreement that *we negotiated* or letting Euro and Iran trade and thus undermining our own case that breaking the deal was necessary. 9
Enforcing secondary sanctions against EU, Japan, India, would be a huge economic problem. 10
And after a year or two, if Iran doesn't fully follow the deal, we have zero leverage to stand up and say "Hey! They're doing this thing that breaks the agreement with centrifuges!" because *we're not in the deal any more.* 11
Iran would have tons of leverage to salami-slice their way around the sunsets and effectively end them before they were scheduled. Who's going to enforce the deal, the same US administration that broke it? 12
Consequences Route C: Iran decides to restart part of their program, largely to pacify internal political constituencies. US leaving gives them the leverage to say they'll be following most, but not all of the deal, because at this point the whole thing's optional. 13
This leaves the US without a ton of legs to stand on to claim Iran's breaking out for a weapon, and maybe the Euros get nervous and businesses hold back trade. 14
The result in Iran of *all three consequence routes* is that the most moderate leadership that had ever been elected are undermined and shown to have made a mistake by dealing with the US. The hardliners -- who want a bomb -- are empowered. 15
And so any chance that the sunset provisions of the deal would align with political change in Iran is gone. 16
Let's tally that all up:
-No reason to kill the deal and no clear benefit from.
-The US is isolated from its allies.
-Iran may pursue a weapon in response, the likely result of which is a US-v-Iran war of some kind.
-the hardliners in Iran are empowered..... 17
- The US has no standing to go after Iran if they do things the deal prohibits.
- And we could end up in a trade war with our closest allies
The best case likely scenario is we end up exactly where we were two years ago - Iran on the threshold - about a decade earlier than if the deal had just been left in place to begin with. 19/end.
Someone asked my credentials on this (since there are so many new experts today): Was VP @TrumanProject a #natsec policy org that supported coercive diplomacy with Iran and a strong agreement. Had a seat at the table of the coalition that supported it.

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