I have no argument with columnist Thomas Friedman's axiomatic statement: "We, America, have our own interests," in the Nov. 16 column about seeking a nuclear deal with Iran. The issue of where America's interests lie is, however, open to discussion.
The risks to U.S. interests of a nuclear-armed Iran include a steep rise in oil prices as a result of regional instability; nuclear proliferation in the area; the obliteration of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; loss of any remaining credibility of American guarantees and an inability to deter Iran's proven support for terrorism and subversion.
Successive administrations, including the current one, have stated clearly that America's vital interests depend on preventing (not containing) a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Iran. To that end, sanctions have been imposed which apparently have been effective enough to bring Iran's representatives to the negotiating table. Mr. Friedman states "that the only near-term deal with Iran worth partially lifting sanctions for would be a deal that (verifiably) freezes all the key components of Iran's nuclear weapons development program." To freeze its program, Iran would have to stop the construction of its plutonium-producing heavy water reactor and to add no further centrifuges; it would also have to halt all uranium enrichment, all of which Iran refuses to do. That being the case now, why would the mullahs agree to do so after the pressure of sanctions has been reduced? As to "verifiable" -- two words: North Korea.
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