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Dangerous Illusions About Iran

Iranian flag (Photo: wikicommons/Nick Taylor)

As the world continues to make excuses for the nuclear deal made with Iran, it is becoming even clearer how misguided the agreement was. Former national security adviser Elliott Abrams writes that extremists have not lost power in Iran and that we know now even less about the Iranian nuclear program:

Last year’s Iran nuclear agreement was sold with several powerful arguments, and among the most important were these: that the agreement would strengthen Iranian “moderates” and thus Iran’s external conduct, and that it would allow us unparalleled insight into Iran’s nuclear program.

Both are now proving to be untrue, but the handling of the two differs. The “moderation” argument is being proved wrong but the evidence is simply being denied. The “knowledge” argument is being proved wrong but the fact is being met with silence. Let’s review the bidding.

The idea that the nuclear agreement was a reward for Iran’s “moderates” and would strengthen them is a key tenet of the defense of the agreement. If Iran remains the bellicose and repressive theocracy of today when the agreement ends and Iran is free to build nukes without limits, we have entered a dangerous bargain. It is critical that Iran change, so defenders of the agreement adduce evidence that it has. And the new evidence is Iran’s recent elections. Those elections were a great victory for “moderates” and hard-liners, it is said, and they help to prove that the nuclear deal was wise...

So, the bases on which the nuclear agreement with Iran was sold appear to be crumbling. Moderates are not gaining power, Iran is not moderating its behavior, and we know less rather than more about what it is actually doing in its nuclear program. Some of those conclusions are denied by the administration and by credulous portions of the press, and others are ignored. But all those verbal games will not make us any safer.

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