By Mikaela Tenner
In July 2015, the Obama Administration announced their framework for the Iran Nuclear Deal. This deal was reached after years of negotiation between international parties, and was met with extreme reactions both in the United States and around the world. Over the summer, hundreds of rallies took place across the United States, both for and against the deal. Millions of Americans called their members of Congress, urging them to vote one way or another. Leaders of countries including the United Kingdom and Israel called on the United States to take action. After much debate, the Iran Nuclear Agreement was approved by Congress in mid-September.
Because the Iran Nuclear Agreement is an agreement between nations, it qualifies as a treaty. Under the Constitution, treaties require two-thirds approval by Congress in order for the United States to put them into action. However, prior to the final negotiation of the deal, the Senate had voted 99-1 in favor of President Obama lifting sanctions on Iran. Under this bill, the action stands if Congress does not react with a two-thirds rejection within 90 days. An additional bill, giving Congress the power to reject the Iran Nuclear Deal was passed through Congress in May 2015. Using this bill, Congress rejected the Iran Nuclear Agreement, but Obama vetoed their rejection, and Congress did not have the two-thirds majority to override the veto.
According to the Obama Administration, the deal will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. As a result of this deal, Iran must agree to curb some of its nuclear developments, while remaining under international supervision. Iran’s nuclear facilities will be subject to international monitoring. Supporters of this deal claim that it blocks all pathways Iran could take to obtain a nuclear weapon, and also that it hinders Iran’s ability to do extensive damage if they were to acquire nuclear weapons. This extensive supervision is projected to slow any potential progress Iran could make towards building an actual nuclear weapon: up to one year, rather than two to three months. This deal has been met with support from much of Europe and Russia.
Although many praise the Iran Deal, there is significant reason to worry about its stipulations. One problematic part of the deal is the role that Iran may play in the inspection of its own facilities. Nuclear experts agree that Iran’s presence during its own inspections may render them biased. Another concern is the length of time that Iran has to prepare its facilities in the month leading up to examination. This begs the question whether Iran could potentially hide any incriminating materials during this interval. Another issue is whether Iran could potentially disguise entire nuclear facilities, since, under the deal, only two officially recognized nuclear facilities will be inspected. The length of the deal has also been brought into question, with many convinced that 10 years is too short a length of time for such a pervasive deal to last.
There is also significant reason to be concerned about the potential international impact of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran and the United States have not been on good terms for decades, as Iran’s leaders still refer to the United States as the “Great Satan,” and anti-Americanism still runs rampant throughout the country. Iran will receive over $150 billion as a result of the United States lifting sanctions, more than the United States has cumulatively given Iran since the end of World War II. With this large influx of money come worries about how Iran will spend it. In addition to Iran calling the United States “Big Satan,” it also calls Israel “Little Satan,” so the passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement puts Israel in danger, too. Iran is the primary funder of Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist group whose self-proclaimed mission is to destroy Israel. In addition, Iran also funds the Taliban and the Hamas, common aggressors to the United States. Recently, Iran’s Supreme Leader told the media that Israel “will not exist in 25 years.”
Shortly after Obama announced the passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement, governments across the globe became excited at the prospect of renewed international negotiations with Iran. It has long been believed that reaching this agreement with Iran would create a new era of peace between it and the Western world. However, at the same time the deal was being passed, Iran held a march of thousands in which protesters shouted “Death to America! Death to Israel!” This march was not only attended by thousands of Iranians, but also by Iran’s president himself. Although it is admirable that international powers have come to a diplomatic agreement with Iran, it is important to be wary of the implications that this deal could have. Iran may say that they are committed to this peaceful agreement, but their actions seem to indicate otherwise.