Critics of the agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear program are right about most things but wrong about the most important things. They understand the agreement’s manifest and manifold defects and its probable futility. Crucial components of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure remain. U.S. concessions intended to cultivate the Iranian regime’s “moderates” are another version of the fatal conceit that U.S. policy can manipulate other societies. As is the hope that easing economic sanctions will create an Iranian constituency demanding nuclear retreat in exchange for yet more economic relief. Critics are, however, wrong in thinking that any agreement could control Iran’s nuclear aspirations. And what critics consider the agreement’s three worst consequences are actually benefits.
The six-month agreement, with ongoing negotiations, makes it impossible for the United States to attack its negotiating partner. Hence the agreement constrains Israel, which lacks the military capacity to be certain of a success commensurate with the risks of attacking Iran. Therefore there is no alternative to a policy of containment of a nuclear Iran.