Does the world want an Iran that promotes terror with or without a nuclear weapon, asked former US defense secretary William Perry in an interview with The Jerusalem Post. He was arguing that the United States should rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He said that although the hope was that the Islamic Republic’s behavior would normalize through JCPOA, “none of that was on paper,” Perry said. “Would you rather have an Iran promoting terror in the Middle East with a nuclear weapon or without?”
The interview took place shortly after Perry and Ploughshares Fund Policy Director Tom Collina co-authored the book, The Button, which mostly discusses US-Russia nuclear dilemmas, but briefly confronts Iranian nuclear dilemmas.
Perry told the Post, “Rejoining the deal is better than not rejoining the deal. We had restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programs and now we don’t. If someone had a third alternative, it would be nice to hear about it.”
He said the decision should be pretty simple: “Some think they can get a better deal. Maybe they can, but I don’t see the evidence” that they can.
Furthermore, Collina said that when the US was in the deal, the deal was working according to international inspectors.
“Now that the US has withdrawn, Iran is closer to a bomb than before,” he said. “Clearly, Iran won’t enter a different agreement” nor “a better agreement until the US comes back to the original deal.”
Perry said in the last year of the Obama administration, many things about Iran’s behavior concerned him, but he was “reasonably relaxed” about its nuclear program.
“The problem was solved, or put on the shelf anyway, maybe for 10 years…15 years,” he said. The “hope was that eventually “there would be a change for the better” regarding Iran’s regime, “but in the meantime, we had the nuclear program put on ice.”
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