Media recaps looking back at the year since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the nuclear deal, signed into reality on July 14th last year, have not found many reasons to declare the agreement a triumph. Rather, recaps list the growing number of reasons the deal has failed to achieve its intended objectives – or, worse yet, achieved the very opposite of them.
After testing the waters initially, Western firms and banks are still cautious about dealing with Iran, as per The Wall Street Journal; the Islamic republic is still financially blacklisted due to its ever-worsening human rights abuses, continued corruption, terror-sponsoring, and money-laundering.
But there’s more: rather than reining in Iran’s neo-imperialist ambitions, the deal has simply empowered it to aspire to greater regional hegemony and more military might – as its numerous ballistic missile tests in the past few months (it reportedly carried out a fourth test recently), as well as other defiant actions, would indicated. As Luke Coffey put it, the “deeply flawed” deal has made Iran “stronger and more forthright” in the Middle East, bolstering its economy and making it even more of a military threat to its neighbors; and all this over a deal that merely slows down Iran’s nuclear progress, rather than halting it entirely.
While reporting about the 4th missile test since signing the nuclear deal, Foxnews quotes General Votel stating that “Iran’s behavior hasn’t significantly changed as a result of the nuclear agreement, they continue to pursue malign activities, and they continue to foment instability in areas where we need stability so I remain concerned about that continued behavior.” In a similar vein, author Peter Kiernan published a sardonic think piece in Fox Business in which he announced that the “honeymoon” of the nuclear deal – its first year – was “over,” having generated (on Iran’s part) mostly “some centrifuges,” and “some subterfuges too.” Kiernan concluded that the costs of the deal far outweighed the benefits, which consisted of a marginally greater understanding of Iran’s nuclear program. On Christian Science Monitor, too, Scott Peterson described the 159-page document as “a study in unmet high expectations for change.”
Over at The Washington Post, meanwhile, diplomatic correspondent Carol Morello’s report reflected a tad more optimism, suggesting that although the “best-case scenario” – that the deal would “exert a moderating influence on Iran’s behavior” – has not yet been realized, it has, apparently, achieved some of its nuclear objectives. The Post’s readership, however, took some offense at this last assertion, writing in to remark that Iran has clearly (and conspicuously) not abandoned its nuclear enrichment plans – so in that regard, too, the deal cannot be said to have been a success. And Iran? The “moderate” President Rouhani marked the anniversary by reassuring Iranians that the deal – and its limitations on Iran’s “inalienable” nuclear rights – can be quickly overturned at any point. What a reassuring way to begin Year 2!