Today’s Iran deal, which is designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, is the safest way forward for the Middle East – and for Israel in particular, despite opposition to it by some American conservatives and by the Israeli government.
Opponents of a peace deal with Iran should be prepared to say what alternative they would prefer. One article, on the Conservative News and Views website, advises a pre-emptive strike – which would be an act of war. Previous such strikes, against Iraq and against Libya, have destabilised the Middle East and have fanned the flames of tribal conflict; they have led to the formation of ISIS and have helped it to recruit young people from all over the world to a fight in a jihad against what they see as an existential threat to Sunni Islam.
Right now does not seem to be a good time to attack Iran, while it is helping to fight ISIS. A strike would constitute an attack on Shia Islam. Peace in this case is a difficult path to pursue, and inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities are clearly very important, but the alternatives are worse. If either America or Israel chooses to make a pre-emptive strike against Iran it would be very easy for Hezbollah to recruit more support in attacking Israel – which is a closer target than America. And it doesn’t make sense for America and Israel to be attacking both Sunnis and Shias at the same time. A peace process, even one as precarious as the Iran deal, is a safer choice.