By James Lewis
January 1, 2014
After years of stalemate, the United States and our allies have secured a verifiable nuclear deal with Iran. This first-stage deal freezes Iran’s nuclear program and provides both sides time to negotiate a more comprehensive agreement ensuring Iran never develops the bomb.
This is a big win, both for Washington and the international community as a whole, for many reasons.
First and foremost, a diplomatic solution to this decade-long challenge would prevent the two most likely alternatives: an Iranian nuclear weapon or a war.
Without ongoing diplomatic negotiations, sanctions have no impact. They are designed to bring adversaries to the negotiating table.
Should this deal fail, additional sanctions would be imposed but are unlikely to have an effect. While Iran’s economy will continue to suffer under the toughest sanctions regime ever enacted, hardliners in Iran will be empowered to seek the only option left: a nuclear threat. Were Iran to accelerate its offensive nuclear program, without a doubt, it would lead to a military strike that could trigger another protracted war in the Middle East.
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