One of the remarkable aspects of President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear weapons deal is the length and breadth of the opposition to it. The Washington Free Beacon noted that Americans oppose the deal 55 percent to 25 percent, according to a Quinnipiac Poll. The Democratic National Committee declined to pass a resolution supporting the deal on the behest of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. Sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Donald Trump, both candidates for president, are scheduled to headline a rally in Washington against the deal sponsored by a number of Tea Party and Jewish groups.
Nevertheless, the betting among political analysts is that Obama will be about to suborn enough Democrats in the Senate to sustain a presidential veto of a congressional disapproval resolution. An outside chance exists that the president may get enough Democrats to filibuster the resolution in the Senate. So, the deal will go on unimpeded by any of the normal constitutional checks against agreements with foreign countries. The question arises, what happens next?
Despite Obama administration protestations, the Iranian nuclear weapons agreement will only have two effects. President Obama will pretend that he has stopped the Iranians from getting nuclear weapons. The Iranians will pretend that they are not building a nuclear bomb. The last is not a stretch. The Iranians have always claimed that their nuclear program was peaceful, despite ample intelligence to the contrary.
A cat and mouse game will ensue as the IAEA will attempt to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities and the Iranians will impede the inspectors, continuing to build a nuclear bomb as before. Israel, which has the most to lose from a nuclear Iran, will use all of its covert assets, including targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, cyber warfare, and outright sabotage to impede the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb. An outside chance exists that Israel, with the tacit assistance of Iran’s Arab neighbors who feel just as threatened by an Iranian bomb, will try a military strike to take out the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Will Iran be able to build the Bomb before Obama leaves office? The mullahs know that if a Republican is elected president, the deal will be scrapped and sanctions will be reimposed in a more damaging fashion than before. America has a great many tools with which it can damage Iran unilaterally. The United States will also initiate covert operations to support Iran’s opposition groups, comprised of young people who chafe under the tyranny of the mullahs. Iran has every incentive to get the Bomb before that happens.
Obama has maintained that if the Iranians are caught cheating, sanctions will snap back on instantly. But is that so? Imagine if, months before his presidency is to conclude, Barack Obama was presented with incontrovertible proof that Iran is cheating on the agreement? He would have every incentive to ignore the warning and pretend that all is well with what he will consider his signature foreign policy accomplishment.
In that case, the world had better hope that Iran does not get the Bomb before a new administration that is less enamored of pieces of paper to protect the world from a nuclear weapon used by the religious zealots who run Iran. The best case scenario would be a nuclear bomb test in an isolated part of Iran, heralding a certain war that would have to be waged to destroy that country’s nuclear arsenal and effect regime change. The worst case would involve the first test of an Iranian bomb will happen when it is dropped on Tel Aviv or exploded in New York harbor.
The absolute worse outcome would be the explosion of an Iranian nuclear bomb fired by a missile from a freighter offshore to explode in the upper atmosphere over the United States. The resulting Electromagnetic Pulse would take down the power grid and fry every electronic device it touches. Restoring the grid would take upwards to a year, during which millions would die. That is the risk that Barack Obama is taking in order to have a fleeting foreign policy win.