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Roundup: Reaction to the Iran nuclear deal

Officials posed for a photo after it was announced Tuesday morning that Iran and six major world powers, including the US, reached a nuclear deal.REUTERS

Check out five opinions trending online on the US nuclear deal with Iran.

Gamble may take years to pay off: The deal, reached after long negotiations, is a gamble akin to Nixon’s opening to China 40 years ago, writes David Sanger of the New York Times – but it may take years to pay off.

“Mr. Obama will be long out of office before any reasonable assessment can be made as to whether that roll of the dice paid off. The best guess today, even among the most passionate supporters of the president’s Iran project, is that the judgment will be mixed. Nothing in the deal announced Tuesday eliminates Iran’s ability to eventually become a nuclear threshold power – it just delays the day. To Mr. Obama’s many critics, including Henry A. Kissinger, the architect of the China opening, that is a fatal flaw. It does nothing, Mr. Kissinger wrote recently with another former secretary of state, George P. Shultz, to change ‘three and a half decades of militant hostility to the West,’ ” Sanger writes.

“Yet it is a start. Senior officials of two countries that barely spoke with each other for more than three decades have spent the past 20 months locked in hotel rooms, arguing about centrifuges but also learning how each perceives the other. Many who have jousted with Iran over the past decade see few better alternatives.” Read more.


Kissinger and Shultz object: Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, former secretaries of state, expressed deep concern in April about ceding newfound power to Iran and destabilizing American influence in the Middle East.

“Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America’s traditional allies will conclude that the US has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony. They will increasingly look to create their own nuclear balances and, if necessary, call in other powers to sustain their integrity. Does America still hope to arrest the region’s trends toward sectarian upheaval, state collapse, and the disequilibrium of power tilting toward Tehran, or do we now accept this as an irremediable aspect of the regional balance?” they write in the Wall Street Journal.


“Some advocates have suggested that the agreement can serve as a way to dissociate America from Middle East conflicts, culminating in the military retreat from the region initiated by the current administration. As Sunni states gear up to resist a new Shiite empire, the opposite is likely to be the case.” Read more.

Netanyahu’s mistake? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been recalcitrant and stubborn in opposing the Iran nuclear deal and keeping the US at arms’ length – and that’s a fatal mistake for his political future, writes columnist Peter Beaumont in the UK Guardian.

“Netanyahu’s combative comments came as criticism of his handling of the diplomacy around Iran has grown over the past two days, as a deal appeared increasingly imminent. Leading the charge have been Netanyahu’s political opponents, among them Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, who denounced Netanyahu’s diplomatic campaign as a ‘colossal failure.’ ” Read more.

Arms race predicted: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon tells Ben Caspit of the Al-Monitor that the nuclear deal will set off an arms race in the Middle East, with dire consequences.

“Iran was and will remain a player driven by goals of domination. It wants to export its revolution as quickly as possible to as many places as possible. It funds terrorism and is politically subversive against rival regimes, such as Sunni governments with ties to the West. The agreement will not change Iran, but it will elevate it to the status of a country ‘on the cusp of having nuclear weapons.’ This means that countries that consider Iran a threat, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt, will want to catch up to it, and a nuclear arms race will ensue in the Middle East,” Ya’alon says in the Q&A.


“Iran will be stronger economically, too. If until now it could offer only limited resources to fund terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Houthis in Yemen, or factions in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will now have more money to fund terrorism and other politically subversive activities. It will feel more confident because its diplomatic isolation has been lifted. Its economy will recover and grow stronger, with $150 billion being released immediately. Add to this all the various economic interests, be they European, Russian, Chinese, Indian, and even American, who will rush to Iran to invest in oil, gas, the automobile industry, electricity, and electronics. They will all rush to do business there. What this means is that the regime will not only avoid changing its very nature, with its anti-Western and anti-Sunni ideology. It will actually work harder at promoting that ideology. It will be more confident in itself and more daring. Unfortunately, there are those in the West who see the Iranian regime as part of the solution, and not as the crux of the problem.” Read more.


End of the Bush doctrine: The nuclear deal is a sign that, finally, the Bush era of American foreign policy is over, writes Peter Beinart for The Atlantic.

“Obama has certainly made mistakes in the Middle East. But behind his drive for an Iranian nuclear deal is the effort to make American foreign policy ‘solvent’ again by bringing America’s ends into alignment with its means. That means recognizing that the United States cannot bludgeon Iran into total submission, either economically or militarily. The US tried that in Iraq,” Beinart writes.

“It is precisely this recognition that makes the Iran deal so infuriating to Obama’s critics. It codifies the limits of American power. And recognizing the limits of American power also means recognizing the limits of American exceptionalism. It means recognizing that no matter how deeply Americans believe in their country’s unique virtue, the United States is subject to the same restraints that have governed great powers in the past. For the Republican right, that’s a deeply unwelcome realization. For many other Americans, it’s a relief. It’s a sign that, finally, the Bush era in American foreign policy is over.” Read more.

Ellen Clegg is a member of the Globe staff. To suggest a publication or topic for review, e-mail ellen.clegg@globe.com.