US Nuclear Deal Hands Iranians a Free Pass, Says Middle East Expert
As it stands, the current nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers is going to present Iran with an unprecedented opportunity to expand its influence throughout the Middle East, former U.S. official, and now senior fellow at the Hudson Institute Michael Doran told the Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Doran said that the Obama administration is backing off from the decades-old policy of containment of Iran that has largely shaped the geopolitical environment in the Middle East, in a favor of a new approach, which frees up Iran’s hands.
Iran has “expanded control in Iraq, called for Israel’s destruction, increased its position in Syria and continues to support the worst atrocities of the Syrian government,” Doran told the Algemeiner.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has sought to curtail Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes in Yemen against rebels reportedly backed by Iran, pressing for peace talks. Iran has also encouraged a “regional dialogue.”
“To our traditional allies, we tell them no,” said Doran. To the “Iranians, we give them a pass.”
The current nuclear deal emerging with Iran is “completely disconnected from any other aspect of their behavior,” said Doran, and the nuclear deal as is will guarantee Tehran “$50 billion as soon as they sign.”
To allay the fears of opponents of the nuclear deal, the Obama administration has stressed a snap-back mechanism for reinstating sanctions against Iran if inspectors discover it has broken the agreement.
But the current framework allows European and Asian companies to do business in Iran almost immediately. Once Russia and China have diversified their interests in Iran, it will take more diplomatic effort to achieve a resolution for replacing sanctions, said Doran.
In addition to the $50 billion Iran receives upon signing the deal, these two developments effectively “gut the sanctions regime.”
Ultimately, the U.S. and five other world powers are most likely going to sign an agreement with Iran, but what it needs is a “significant strengthening,” said Doran.
Doran said Iran’s nuclear facility at Fordow should be closed; the current framework agreement announced in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week says it will be converted to a “nuclear, physics and technology centre,” with 1,000 centrifuges left operable.
Doran was formerly the deputy assistant secretary for Public Diplomacy at the U.S. Department of Defense.