In April of 2016, secretary of state John Kerry addressed MDC Honors College students at the Miami Freedom Tower, where he remarked that we must “find a diplomatic solution to the catastrophic civil war in Syria.” His efforts to broker a ceasefire in Syria were, however, partly hindered by Iran’s participation in the Syrian Civil War.
Iran has been playing a much larger role as a regional power in recent years, most notably in Syria with its deployment of elite troops there, but that is not to say the Iranian Nuclear Deal has been responsible for Iran’s emergence as a dominant force in the Middle East. Repealing the deal, however, would ensure a restart of the nuclear proliferation efforts which in the long run could multiply Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
Trump has called the Iranian Nuclear Deal “disastrous,” but even his appointee for Secretary of Defense agrees there is no better alternative. During his hearing, when asked about the Iran Nuclear Deal, former four-star general James “Mad Dog” Mattis stated that “we have to live up to it” while stressing that it isn’t a “friendship treaty.”
If opposition from a former marine, four-star general, and now secretary of defense is not convincing enough to not repeal the Iran Nuclear Deal, we can take a look back at history to when the US was in a similar situation. In 1994, under the Clinton administration, a deal was brokered with North Korea which sought to stop the enrichment of uranium and therefore remove the possibility of nuclear proliferation; however, in 2002 the Bush administration stopped all funding to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), an organization created in order to provide energy to North Koreans who depended on more powerful nuclear reactors for electricity before the arms deal was reached.
Upon the cancellation of funding to KEDO, the entire deal fell apart and North Korea went on to proliferate and successfully develop a nuclear weapon only four years later in October of 2006. A nuclear Iran is the greatest threat to stability in the Middle East. If the Iran deal gets repealed and Iran follows in the footsteps of North Korea, a nuclear arms race could arise in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia begins a nuclear program of its own and Israel increases its nuclear stockpile.
The nuclear deal reached by the Obama administration puts a stop to proliferation efforts in exchange for sanctions relief. This element of the deal is frowned upon by most opponents of the deal because it gives Iran more money to spend supporting proxy militias and terrorist organizations in the region. However, the lifting of sanctions also help the common people of Iran, increasing their presence in global trade and therefore being more exposed to western Culture.
If the Castro regime did not fall after 50 years of sanctions and embargo, there is no reason to believe that by keeping Iran isolated we are weakening its radical leadership and regional interventionism.
The powerful effects of free trade are best described by Voltaire on the London Exchange by drawing a parallel to our complicated relationship with Iran: “Go into the London Stock Exchange – a more respectable place than many a court – and you will see representatives from all nations gathered together for the utility of men. Here Jew, Mohammedan and Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same faith, and only apply the word infidel to people who go bankrupt.”