President Barack Obama has launched a sweeping campaign to sell his historic Iran deal to Congress.
President Barack Obama has launched a sweeping campaign to sell his historic Iran deal to Congress, advertising the accord as the sole alternative to war with Tehran to convince skeptical lawmakers to buy in.
Foreign policy experts and opponents of the deal pushed against the administration’s pitch during a Heritage Foundation panel Thursday, arguing that the reality is more complex.
Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the administration’s claim that international sanctions would easily snap back if Iran violates the accord is also applicable to the front end of the deal.
“You can’t say, ‘I have this tool to snap back and it’s fairly easy to snap back if there is agreement’ … but then say the alternative to this deal is war,” he said. “You have a whole arsenal of other policy choices and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.”
Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, also disputed the administration’s pitch, suggesting that the implementation of the deal is more dangerous than its failure.
He argued that the agreement threatens U.S. security and adversely impacts national interest, noting the amount of money pouring into Tehran’s economy through some $100 billion in sanctions relief.
Berman said the “unprecedented scope” of sanctions relief provides an “aggregate expansion” of Iran’s economy.
To place the impact into perspective, Berman noted that Iran’s 2014 annual GDP was $415 billion. If the deal remains intact following congressional review, Berman said the sanctions package heading to Tehran in the next 6 to 8 months would be nearly a quarter of its current economy.