Next President Could Use Iran Deal As Leverage

Posted July 20, 2015 at 5:00am

“The next president of the United States will almost certainly be more hawkish on Iran than Barack Obama,” writes David Frum , but “the next president will have opportunities to slow, or threaten to slow, Iranian economic recovery as part of an effort to press for renegotiating elements of the current deal.”  

“There will be a moment when Iran has dismantled a multibillion-dollar nuclear investment and faces a multibillion-dollar price tag to rebuild it. Exactly how long that moment will last is difficult to say. As part of the agreement, Iran will retain a considerable nuclear infrastructure and will continue to enrich uranium with its remaining centrifuges. The unfreezing of as much as $100 billion of Iranian assets worldwide will provide Iranian officials with new resources. Still, for some period of months, the prospect of the nuclear deal failing will be very frightening for the country’s rulers. Much of their old nuclear program will be gone, their new program won’t yet have been built, and their cash infusion will only have just begun.”  

“During that period, a new president may be able to press Iran to renegotiate the Obama deal’s worst terms, especially its weak inspection provisions. Presidents have more options than to either accept or junk agreements. They can renegotiate them too… Iran’s rulers have raised expectations of economic betterment inside the country. Those raised expectations may generate useful political pressure on the regime—and useful fears within the regime of the consequences of not delivering on those high hopes.”