The Iran nuclear deal would be a whole lot more palatable if we had a clear picture of a robust Iran strategy that included actions to punish the part of the Iranian government that has killed so many Americans. Nuclear negotiations with Rouhani are OK, but the security brief is more in Kamenei’s hands and through them to the IRGC. The IRGC is the real driver of Iranian security actions and they are acting against the US and its friends and allies directly. I have argued that accompanying the carrot of the nuclear agreement should be a tough stick for those who kill Americans. Why should we treat the al Quds force of the IRGC any differently than al Qa’ida? They have been responsible for hundreds of American deaths. Why should we not treat them in the same fashion? Maybe we will…
Last Friday (October 9, 2015) it was reported by Iran media that Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani was killed in Syria by ISIS. It would be nice if more of these leaders were taken off the battlefield as they say. Hamedani, was reported to be a very close deputy to Qasem Solemeini, the Qods force commander. I don’t know if Iran is certain it was ISIS that was responsible for the death of Hamdani, but it wouldn’t hurt if they wondered if the US was somehow connected. Watch this space.
Back to the Nuclear deal. I wrote a piece for Politico in September 9 (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/a-nuclear-inspectors-view-give-the-iran-deal-a-shot-213128) saying that the Iran nuclear deal might work….for a while. I highlighted again that we will soon get a powerful indication of how things would work. Iran, by October 15th is meant to have responded to IAEA road map requirements to disclose details related to their nuclear weaponization program. Tehran has denied these efforts though the international community and even the IAEA believe they took place. (See the November 8, 2011 IAEA report which has an incredibly detailed description of the people, places, things, etc. related to a weaponization program.)
The IAEA will report to its Board of Governors and the UN Security Council on December 15th regarding their assessment. At that time we will know if Iran is starting with a big lie, and we will know how tough IAEA reporting will be. AND we will see how tough the US and other P-5 + 1 parties intend to be. Don’t expect much.
Certainly Putin will not want to see the deal blow up before sanctions are further loosened. The US will also not want to blow up the deal even though it begins with a lie. Kerry has already said, the past doesn’t matter, it’s only important what Iran does in the future. He states we already know what Iran did whether the admit it or not doesn’t matter. Somehow, that doesn’t sound right.
So my take is the deal may buy some time. How much? I bet on the short side.