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This is ok if we have total faith in Iran to do the right thing, striving for the goals outlined in the toothless preamble and not developing any nefarious goals or agendas that suit its own “supreme interests.” Unfortunately, as has been previously demonstrated, Iran’s “supreme objectives” may be more oriented towards the deaths of other people or groups than the international community is generally comfortable with. It would seem that in drafting a deal that prioritizes nuclear nonproliferation, adding a legally binding statement of intent not to develop would be step one in the drafting process, but not for the JPCOA. Aside from this glaring issue of composition and ability to enforce, the terms that the JPCOA does succeed in enforcing are far too lenient. While the deal allows for UN inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities to ensure compliance, significant portions of military infrastructure are off limits to inspectors. Getting clearance from

While the deal allows for UN inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities to ensure compliance, significant portions of military infrastructure are off limits to inspectors. Iran to conduct an inspection of approved facilities takes around a month at minimum. The treaty guarantees Iran 24 days foreword notice before inspection, but legal analysts have explained how this waiting period can be drawn out significantly longer.⁸ Add to this the fact that the UN body in charge of conducting such inspections has shown itself reluctant to do so and the US and her allies are left with little of the oversight capability originally prioritized when drafting the deal. Another problem with the JCPOA is its position on centrifuges. While the deal does require Iran to limit itself to only maintaining 6,104 of these devices, it doesn’t prohibit Iran from creating them to military standards. Just 7 years after the signing of the deal, according to its terms Iran is allowed to build IR-8 military centrifuges to the standard required to quickly create weapons grade nuclear material.⁹ Although this deal does have notable impact in reducing Iran’s enrich80

ment potential, this is a huge loophole that negotiators failed to close. There is a case to be made that Iran’s interest in keeping this possibility of creating such centrifuges open for themselves demonstrates interest in developing a weapon, a threat which the weak JCPOA is simply not equipped to counter. Similar to the expiration on centrifuge enforcement is the JCPOA’s stance on ballistic missile development, which allows Iran to develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles after an allotted period of time (10 years).¹⁰ Further, the JCPOA only provides five years of restriction on the trade of non-nuclear missiles with Iran—a troubling fact for previous victims of Iranian missile aggression.¹¹ Finally, the JCPOA’s sunset clause guarantees a limit to the deal’s efficacy. This clause lifts restrictions on the production of weapons grade plutonium in Iran after just 10-15 years.¹² At that time, Iran is free to expand its program to a much larger scale, reducing its breakout time (time required to produce a nuclear weapon) “almost down to zero,” as former President Obama put it. Because of this clause, experts have described the JCPOA as a sort of nuclear control rent program, guaranteeing a short-term outcome for a high cost with a given deadline. When dealing in weapons of mass destruction with a country that has self-described as “impatient” to go to war against those it seeks to “annihilate,” it seems that a longer-term investment in peace might be preferable.¹³

When dealing in weapons of mass destruction with a country that has self-described as “impatient” to go to war against those it seeks to “annihilate,” it seems that a longer-term investment in peace might be preferable. The Iran deal is dangerous because of both what it is, and what it is not. The JCPOA is a weakly worded agreement with only short-term restrictions on possible Iranian nuclear ambitions. It also represents a misalignment of priorities by failing to account for Iran’s already threatening

Profile for Rebuttal

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Spring 2019  

We proudly present our first issue! The topics include abortion, the Iran deal, voter ID laws, targeted killings by governments, Hamilton: A...

Profile for rebuttal
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