Trump wrong about Iran nu­clear deal

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Jack Kin­stlinger, Tow­son

Your ar­ti­cle “Szeliga, Van Hollen speak to B’Nai Is­rael fo­rum” (Sept. 25) re­ports that a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans op­pose the U.S. nu­clear deal with Iran.

As a life­long sup­porter of Is­rael, I strongly sup­port the agree­ment. Those who are fa­mil­iar with the de­tails of the ne­go­ti­a­tions lead­ing up to it gen­er­ally view it fa­vor­ably and con­clude it was far prefer­able for the U.S. to sign rather than re­ject it, an out­come that would have been calami­tous for both Is­rael and the U.S.

Those who op­pose the agree­ment, in­clud­ing Don­ald Trump, who ex­pressed his op­po­si­tion dur­ing his rather in­co­her­ent re­marks Mon­day dur­ing the first pres­i­den­tial de­bate, need to look more closely at the facts.

What drove Iran to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble was not the U.S. sanc­tions, which had failed to make Iran end its nu­clear pro­gram, but rather the de­ci­sion of our al­lies in the talks — the Euro­pean Union, Rus­sia, China and In­dia — to stop im­port­ing Ira­nian oil.

This put the our al­lies in the driver’s seat and re­sulted in an agree­ment short of what we might have liked but rep­re­sent­ing the max­i­mum these na­tions were will­ing to set­tle for.

The ne­go­ti­a­tions there­fore fo­cused ex­clu­sively on dis­arm­ing the Iran nu­clear pro­gram and did not in­clude Iran’s spon­sor­ship of ter­ror­ism or its mis­sile pro­gram.

When Iran signed the agree­ment, Europe and our other al­lies re­sumed their im­ports of Ira­nian oil, thereby re­mov­ing the crit­i­cal sanc­tions that drove the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

For us to refuse to sign the agree­ment at that point would have been dis­as­trous be­cause it would have per­mit­ted Iran to re­sume its nu­clear pro­gram at a time when we were pow­er­less to ne­go­ti­ate a bet­ter deal due to the loss of our pre­vi­ous lever­age. And we would have been viewed by the world as the vil­lains who sab­o­taged the agree­ment.

The only rea­son­able course of ac­tion was to sign the deal and then scrupu­lously mon­i­tor Iran to as­sure its com­pli­ance, which is pre­cisely what the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is do­ing.

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