...Just as the U.S. can claim the deal is being violated, so too can Iran. If the West gets sanctions snap back, Tehran gets what Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies calls “nuclear snap back.”
In practice, the threat of the latter will inevitably prevent the application of the former. Iranian violations of the deal, especially if they are technical and incremental, will be tolerated for the sake of preserving the deal. Violations will be treated as differences of interpretation as to what the deal requires, or as arcane disputes over technical issues, or as responses to some Western provocation. Pretexts will be contrived to revise the deal to suit new and more expansive Iranian demands. Editorialists will enjoin “all parties” to reason and restraint.
“When enough bureaucratic prestige has been invested in a policy,” Henry Kissinger once wrote, “it is easier to see it fail than to abandon it.” That’s the future of the Iran deal.
Meantime, Iran gets $150 billion in mostly upfront sanctions relief. Susan Rice insists that “for the most part” the money will be spent on “the Iranian people and their economy,” an insight the national security adviser must have from the same people who briefed her on Benghazi and Bowe Bergdahl. But she also admits that some of the money might be spent on Iran’s “bad behavior in the region”—but that’s OK because the nuclear deal “was not designed to prevent them from engaging in bad behavior.”...