Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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EDITORIAL

What’s the alternative in Iran?

  • Trump-500

    President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the nuclear agreement with Iran a bad deal, but hasn't offered a viable alternative.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • US-Japan-32

    Defense Secretary James Mattis.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

Trump-500

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the nuclear agreement with Iran a bad deal, but hasn't offered a viable alternative.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

By this Sunday, President Trump will be required again to certify that Iran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement. 

The accord was struck between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia), plus Germany and the European Union. It obliges Iran to suspend its nuclear program in return for the end of economic and financial sanctions for 10 to 15 years.

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Mr. Trump has twice certified Iranian compliance. But this time, he has amplified his thoughts that the Iran agreement is a bad deal. There is afloat the idea that he will not certify Iranian compliance and will kick the ball to Congress to apply, or not apply, new economic and financial sanctions against Iran.

But arguments for another round of U.S. certification of compliance are strong. The accord theoretically terminates for at least a decade Iran’s nuclear program, a danger in the powder-keg Middle East. Second, drawing Iran more deeply into the world community makes sense. Countries engaged in the world are much more likely to behave responsibly. North Korea is a good example of what happens when a nation is completely isolated.

If the only alternative to the Iran deal is to further isolate Iran, that is no alternative at all. And this has as much as been said by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who is no peace dove. 

If the President has an idea for a better deal and a way to get it, he should spell it out. As we learned with Obamacare, to rescind the imperfect, we need something better.

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