As a critic of many administration decisions on Iran, I have sympathy for Eric Edelman’s and Ray Takeyh’s problems with the Iran deal but disagree with their suggested response: Congress kills it and the United States then negotiates a better deal [“Why Congress should vote ‘no’ on Iran,” op-ed, July 19].
There are serious arguments for congressional rejection of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): symbolic, assuming a veto, to signal unhappiness with President Obama’s Iran policy; or absolute, overriding a veto to topple the deal and focus Iran containment on a more credible U.S. military threat and closer regional relationships. But Congress should not reject the agreement assuming that the United States can then get a better deal. Who would negotiate it? Mr. Obama would have neither enthusiasm nor credibility, the Iranians no motivation to yield and the international community little interest in new negotiations or even continued support for our oil trade sanctions. We would be left with no restraints, rather than the JCPOA’s limited ones, on Iran, eroding sanctions and little international support if force must ultimately be used against Iran.
James F. Jeffrey, Alexandria
The writer is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Charles Krauthammer wrote in his July 17 op-ed column, “The Iran deal: Worse than we imagined,” that congressional opposition to the Iran deal “will make little difference on the ground. But it will make it easier for a successor president to legitimately reconsider an executive agreement.” In his pettiness, Mr. Krauthammer failed to understand the nature of conflict resolution. The risk to the powerful party (the United States) from sustained, absolute suppression of the weaker party (Iran) grows as opportunities to settle isolated disagreements pass. If Congress tears down the deal negotiated in Vienna, the damage will be worse than if negotiations had never begun, and the opportunity for a firmer international presence in Iran will disappear.
In his enmity to the Iran deal, Mr. Krauthammer is asking Congress to abandon a new course in the Middle East for the sake of hastily repairing a past mistake.
Nathan Hersh, Washington