We’ve heard enough about what pundits think about the Geneva nuclear deal with Iran. Time to make way for those with real – and relevant – experience in global peace and security.
Take former IAEA deputy director Olli Heinonen, for instance. Interviewed by Der Spiegel, Heinonen views the deal as a mixed bag, saying that while it was a “step forward” – by freezing Iran’s nuclear efforts for six months – it will do nothing to roll the country’s nuclear program back. Heinonen estimated that Iran would now need two months to reach nuclear breakout capacity, which Der Spiegel called “not a very comforting time buffer.”
Meanwhile, former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the deal actually places Iran, “hopefully only temporarily,” on the threshold to military nuclear power. In their view, a final-status agreement that would leave Iran’s nuclear program at this threshold – rather than rolling it back – would have dangerous implications “for global nonproliferation policy and the stability of the Middle East.”
Kissinger and Schultz added that the Geneva deal accepts “as a baseline” Iranian conduct that was previously “condemned as illegal and illegitimate” by Western powers, while also eliminating the threat of a US military strike.
Not all experts oppose the deal, of course. Harvard University Professor Graham Allison, writing in Ha’aretz , suggested that Obama’s “black line” — the concessions he demanded from Iran — bested even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s red line (by halting enrichment of uranium to 20% and eliminating its stockpile of the same).
Either way, it would seem that the experts agree on at least one point: charm offensive notwithstanding, Iran’s nuclear activities must still be curtailed. Trust and confidence-building have their limits.