I’ll be blunt: The Iranian nuclear deal is the very epitome of a bad deal. The drawbacks outnumber the potential benefits by a wide margin. The agreement was negotiated to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. In exchange for acquiescing to inspections and such, Tehran will receive a veritable gift basket of concessions. The sanctions that have been in place for years and are hindering Iran’s economy will be lifted. Iranian monetary assets will be unfrozen. In essence, Tehran will be allowed to rejoin the world. Commerce markets will be reopened. So long as Iran abides by the rules and resume uranium enrichment, the perks remain in place. Only when there’s evidence that the agreement has been violated will Iran face penalties. In theory, the agreement will almost certainly prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. In practice, it may be an entirely different story. Time will tell.
What the agreement does not prevent or deter is a conventional arms buildup. Now, soon to be rich with cash and burgeoning relationships with Russia and other nations, Iran is already making moves to bolster and perhaps eventually expand the size and capabilities of its armed forces.
Despite public statements to the contrary, America’s allies in the Persian Gulf region and Middle East as a whole, are wary of the nuclear agreement. A nuclear armed Iran is unthinkable. An Iran with improved conventional forces might not be an easier scenario to digest. The Gulf States and other nations in the region are not going to hedge their security and ultimately their sovereignty on a treaty that permits Iran to build up its conventional armed forces in exchange for promises to shelve its nuclear ambitions.
This series will be divided into two parts. The first will be published on 1 September, 2015 and look at the potential conventional arms race that’s brewing in the Persian Gulf. Part two will examine the possibility of a nuclear arms race in the region should Iran violate the agreement and decide to move forward in building a nuclear weapon.