Frankly, I'm disgusted with the deal 'negotiated' by the US and other powers with Iran over the latter country's nuclear program. It's not so much a deal as an abject surrender. There is no possibility of effective verification of its terms, since Iran can object to any inspection and close its facilities under a variety of excuses. For that matter, Iran still hasn't disclosed the nature and location of all its nuclear research facilities. It's all very well to know that the country has an underground research facility at a given place; but how can anyone know how big the facility is? Inspectors can be led down this corridor, then that one, and never realize that they're being shown only a tenth of what's actually there.
Israel, predictably, is furious.
“Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday. “Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted.”
With the lifting of economic sanctions, Netanyahu warned, “Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror.”
Netanyahu’s hardline coalition partner, education minister Naftali Bennett said, “Today a terrorist nuclear superpower is born, and it will go down as one of the darkest days in world history.”
Netanyahu’s fellow Likud member, the Science Minister Danny Danon, said the Iran pact “is like providing a pyromaniac with matches.”
There's more at the link.
Saudi Arabia's not exactly happy, either.
Riyadh regards Iran's support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Iraq's Shi'ite militias, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthis as evidence that Iran wants to gain hegemony across the Middle East for itself and Shi'ite Muslim allies.
It fears this would come at the expense of the interests of Saudi Arabia, the richest Sunni power and birthplace of Islam, and its Sunni-ruled Gulf partners.
While acknowledging that the Vienna deal would mean "a happy day" for the Middle East if it stopped Iran gaining a nuclear arsenal, the Saudi official told Reuters through a social network that he feared it would instead allow Iran "to wreak havoc in the region".
"We have learned as Iran's neighbors in the last 40 years that goodwill only led us to harvest sour grapes," he said.
Again, more at the link. Riyadh's reaction is even more ominous in the light of threats that Saudi Arabia might go ahead with developing or purchasing its own nuclear deterrent in response to Iran. (That possibility dates back several years, ever since the threat from Iran became palpable.)
I predict three short-term outcomes of this 'deal':
- Israel will ramp up its preparations for a nuclear strike on Iran if necessary, including training its pilots and sailors for the mission, and possibly exercising it in cooperation with Saudi Arabia, which will likely support it if it becomes necessary.
- Israel will continue to urgently develop its defenses against ballistic and cruise missiles. If the warheads can't make it through to Israeli cities, that will help to offset the threat: but given Israel's very small size, only one has to get through to cause a national catastrophe.
- Saudi Arabia already has nuclear-capable missiles and launch facilities. It will now actively pursue obtaining nuclear warheads for them, whether overtly or covertly. It may even approach Israel for improved targeting and guidance input, since they both now face the same potentially nuclear-armed enemy.
This agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place, because the Iranian leadership isn't motivated by normal political or diplomatic objectives. It's dominated by religious fanatics, many of whom believe that by bringing about a nuclear Armageddon, they will precipitate the return of the 12th Imam. That's a nightmarish prospect.