My colleague Michael O’Hanlon, who is Research Director of the Brookings Foreign Policy program and a Senior Fellow in the Center for 21st Century Security And Intelligence, has an opinion piece on Iran featured in the latest edition of USA Today. O’Hanlon offers a valuable contribution to the debate on U.S. policy toward Tehran by moving by the current contention over a possible interim deal to consider what the next stage of diplomacy should incorporate. O’Hanlon sketches out a proposal for the specifics of a comprehensive deal with Iran, which is intended to follow on the interim bargain within six months of the former’s conclusion.
O’Hanlon makes the case for an ambitious final agreement that would require Tehran to dismantle the Arak heavy-water reactor as well as the majority of its centrifuges; in addition, Iran would have to convert its stockpile of near-20 percent enriched uranium into reactor fuel and reduce as well as cap its stocks of lower-enriched uranium. These steps, along with intensive verification and inspection mechanisms, would represent the starting point of a viable long-term nuclear bargain that would be reciprocated by the lifting of UN Security Council and other international sanctions, as well as some U.S. restrictions.
Among his other points, O’Hanlon argues that “though such an accord would not permanently guarantee a non-nuclear Iran, it could probably accomplish more than a military strike could, while also greatly slowing Iran should it ever decide to break out of the accord.” He adds that “(i)t might not be a pretty outcome, but it is far preferable to the alternatives for all countries concerned. Only time will tell, however, if such a deal is doable.”
Read O’Hanlon’s entire analysis and recommendations here.
At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?