Unless the self-proclaimed Islamic State is stopped, and unless Iran both adheres to the terms of the nuclear deal and moderates its behavior, Obama’s successor will inherit problems as serious as the problems he inherited.
Iran today remains a country of enormous but unfulfilled potential. And unless and until Tehran starts to privilege its national interests before revolutionary ideology, both the Iranian people and those in its regional crosshairs will continue to suffer the consequences.
Unlike North Korea, Iran may well be motivated to live up to the terms of its nuclear deal, while the United States may find it even more difficult to deliver.
Should the EU3+3 and Iran conclude an agreement, this might go far toward reducing Iran’s nuclear threat for ten years, but success will depend utterly on the detailed provisions.
The nuclear deal’s potential benefits to sectarian relations in the Gulf have been offset by the escalating violence in Yemen and a wave of Sunni triumphalism.
Sanctions relief should be a reward for ending Iran’s nuke program. But the current deal is a massive payment to temporarily put it on hold.
Whoever takes the White House in 2016 will determine the fate of Obama’s deal.
If the parties’ opening positions are used as benchmarks, the parameters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action favor Iran. If the deal is seen through the lenses of their strategic objectives, the picture is far more nuanced.
An Iranian nuclear framework can be an important part of a wider strategy in the Middle East.
The Iran deal reached last week has created a moment of cautious optimism. The agreement exceeded expectations, but a final deal has yet to be reached.