President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, formally named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, makes America, Israel and the world much safer.
The deal threatened the security and the very future of Israel. It legitimized Iranian aggression throughout the Middle East and funded massacres and terror through sanctions relief and business contracts. It also enabled Iran to retain its nuclear infrastructure and the ability to reactivate it in the near future.
The announcement that the United States will pull out of the JCPOA follows decades of concerted Israeli efforts to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Contrary to the claim that no deal would satisfy us, Israelis, in fact, sought an arrangement that would dismantle Iran’s nuclear facilities, halt its building of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and ensure that the jihadist regime in Tehran could never develop nuclear weapons.
We sought a treaty that would link Iran’s ability to do business overseas with the cessation of its support for terror, of its campaign to dominate the Middle East and of its declared goal of destroying the Jewish state.
The JCPOA, signed in 2015, achieved none of this. Rather than blocking Iran’s path to nuclear weapons, it paved it. All of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including those intended to make atomic bombs, were retained, along with the bulk of their centrifuges. Iranian scientists, led by veterans of the secret nuclear weapons program, developed centrifuges able to enrich uranium at four times the 2015 rate. And international inspectors were denied entry into Iranian military sites.
These flaws would alone discredit the JCPOA, but the agreement also had expiration dates. Beginning in a mere seven years, the limitations on Iran’s nuclear program would be gradually lifted. In a short period, Iran would be able to enrich enough uranium for an entire arsenal of bombs.
But JCPOA’s failings did not end there. It ignored Iran’s role as the world’s largest sponsor of state terror, its complicity in the killings of a half-million Syrians and its threats to destroy the state of Israel. It even overlooked Iranian aggression against Americans. Iran did not need intercontinental missiles to reach Israel — it needed them to hit the United States.
And yet the JCPOA rewarded Iran with many tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and international contracts. Iran’s quest for regional hegemony went unchecked. Endangered neighboring states considered launching their own nuclear programs, triggering fears of a Middle East arms race.
Justifiably, Israelis opposed the deal and failed to understand why, with Iran’s economy in tatters, a better one was not signed. Now, though, the United States is again poised to apply immense pressure on Iran, greatly reducing its ability to mount aggression in the region and abroad. America, again, stands with its Middle East allies, sending an unequivocal message of strength to the world.
The threat of Iran nevertheless persists, especially in Syria, which it is trying to transform into a forward military base against Israel. Iran has also supplied Hezbollah with 130,000 rockets and embedded them in Lebanese villages. Faced with these dangers, Israel will continue to defend itself, confident in America’s support and freed from the specter of a bad deal.