1. There is, in fact, a sunset, as Lawfare notes: “For ten years, [at Natanz] Iran’s (limited) enrichment program will continue exclusively with 5,060 active centrifuges, all of the simplest IR-1 model and all operating in Natanz. If any of these break, Iran may replace them with replacements of the same model. All excess and damaged centrifuges and equipment will be stored under continuous monitoring by the IAEA, also at Natanz. During these ten years, Iran can also continue research and development (R&D) enrichment with existing, more advanced centrifuges, but can only continue testing two of each model. For the bulk of these ten years, Iran will also be largely restricted from creating more centrifuges. After eight and a half years, these restrictions begin to lapse.”
2. At Fordow: “For 15 years, no uranium enrichment will take place.” However, since sanctions peel away beginning as early as eight years out, there is no real penalty that can be exacted.
3. The inspection protocol is a farce. Iran has has a total of 24 days to delay inspection. There is also a 50-day period before a joint committee of eight powers, including Iran, must decide whether there is a violation. If sanctions are reimposed, the deal ends. (“The agreement includes a statement that Iran considers a reimposition of sanctions as freeing it from all commitments and restrictions under the deal. In other words, the violation would have to be really big for the Security Council to blow up the agreement and reimpose sanctions,” the Washington Institute’s Robert Satloff explains.)
4. To resolve an inspection dispute, which would almost certainly be the basis for reimposition of sanctions, we need a majority of the group of eight.
5. Satloff explains: “On top of refraining from penalizing Iran for bad behavior, the U.S. and its partners commit to assist Iran to develop in energy, finance, technology and trade. The idea that America and its allies will actually help Iran grow stronger in these areas will sound a discordant note around the Middle East, where the Tehran regime is viewed as the eminence grise behind Bashar Assad’s brutal suppression of his people, the Houthi rebellion against state authority in Yemen, the creeping expansion of radical Shiite influence in Iraq and the activities of some of the most extreme Palestinian terrorist groups.” We, in essence, help Iran to terrorize our allies, including Israel.
In addition, the United States and the European Union must help Iran protect against sabotage to its program (e.g. from Israel or Iranian dissidents). We are now allied with Iran against Israel in this regard.
6. Lawfare explains: “After eight years . . .the EU will terminate all proliferation-related sanctions and the US will terminate or modify sanctions preventing Iran’s acquiring nuclear-related commodities and services (translation: ballistic missiles).” There is no peaceful purpose for ballistic missiles.
7. We cannot sanction Iran for anything else — bombing Israel, for example. Lawfare says: “Crucially, however, the agreement also recognizes that ‘Iran has stated that it will treat such a re-introduction or re-imposition of the sanctions… as grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPOA in whole or in part.’ This seems to acknowledge that as long as Iran complies with the deal, the US and EU will likely be very hesitant to impose new sanctions irrespective of other behavior.”
8. Fordow, which the president once said was entirely unnecessary for any peaceful program, gets to keep its centrifuges and they keep spinning. Lawfare notes: “For [15 years], only 1044 IR-1 centrifuges (in six cascades) will remain at Fordow. Two of these cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned to stable isotope production. The rest will remain idle.” Even if Iran doesn’t cheat, inspections will lapse (see above) and uranium can then be re-inserted, in a secure underground facility.
9. According to the president’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, Iran can use the $100 billion-plus in funds and send that money to Syria, Hamas or Hezbollah (“We should expect that some portion of that money [coming from sanctions relief] would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now”).
10. The detained Americans remain in Iran.
Any one of these reasons should be enough to render the deal entirely unacceptable. Together it is hard to see how people in good faith could conclude this is good for the United States or Israel or the West more generally.