Let me start by saying three things:
- I support diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons
- I support the Schumer-Menendez-Kirk bill
- I don’t think there are any right answers here, but only answers that are less wrong than other ones
Inherent in the first statement is the fact that I do not believe Iran’s claims it is pursuing nuclear power for peaceful purposes. I believe there is one purpose behind Iran’s nuclear program and that is the development of a nuclear weapon. That said, I do not believe the Iranians would be stupid enough to use nuclear weapons on Israel. The ayatollahs, as 2009 demonstrated, are interested, first and foremost in the maintenance of their power. The surest way to lose that power is to use nuclear weapons on Israel. Israel would have no compunctions about massive retaliation against Iran in such a situation and no reasonable person could fault Israel for taking such action.
While many would argue that support for the Schumer-Menendez-Kirk bill is the quickest way to end the diplomatic process and ensure war, I believe that wrongly reads the situation. It was the pressure brought to bear by sanctions, and the effect upon the Iranian economy, that caused Iran to come to the negotiating table in the first place. To successfully conclude a deal to end the prospect of Iranian nuclear weapons requires that Iran understand that consequences exist in the event negotiations fail. The threat of additional sanctions helps serve that purpose.