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‘No Deal, No Crisis’ Is No Plan for Iran
Also published in The Hill
The West is in the middle of a steadily escalating nuclear crisis, even if policymakers are reluctant to admit it.
In Western policy circles, U.S. policy toward Iran is often reduced to a slogan: “No deal, no crisis.” The idea is to keep Iran off President Biden’s desk by avoiding either a politically damaging diplomatic settlement or an escalation that risks conflict—a tenuous tightrope. The mantra is half right. There is indeed no Iran nuclear agreement, nor the prospect for one. In essence, we are in a gray area: Neither the West nor the Islamic Republic is willing to pursue an agreement, although neither is yet willing to declare it dead. But the other half of the motto is an illusion, as events over the past week have underscored. A drone linked to Iran attacked a U.S. base in Syria on Thursday, killing an American contractor and setting off several strikes and counterstrikes between American and Iranian-linked forces in Syria. Meanwhile, Iran could produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a single bomb in about two weeks—as close as it has ever been...