After grueling negotiations in Switzerland that stretched on for more than a week — two days beyond the initial deadline — Iran has negotiated permanent sanctions relief in exchange for temporary constraints on its nuclear activity.
President Obama claims the deal is a victory for the United States and our allies overseas most threatened by Iran's nuclear advances — namely Israel and the Gulf Arab states. But the leaders of these countries, not to mention critics here at home, will rightly note that Iran has managed to retain most of the major components of its nuclear infrastructure, and it will continue to conduct research and development on centrifuges (it will continue to enrich uranium with more than 5,000 of them).
So, when the deal sunsets — probably in 10 years — and many of these restrictions disappear, Iran will be well positioned to build an industrial-size program with an easier pathway to a bomb.
The most notable capitulation on the part of the administration is to allow for Fordow, a once-clandestine site burrowed deep in the side of a mountain, to become a "nuclear physics and technology center." Previously, the President derided the site as something Iran did not need.
Rather awkwardly, both the President and Secretary of State Kerry noted in their prepared remarks how they continued to be troubled by Iranian sponsorship of terrorism and other destabilizing actions across the Middle East. Such comments only served to prompt the nagging question: Can we trust Iran at all?