President Obama has announced an historic understanding between the United States and Iran. Under this framework, Iran has agreed to extensively limit its nuclear activities in exchange for a phased reduction of U.S. and international sanctions as Iran meets its obligations. Iran would be required to significantly reduce its number of centrifuges enriching uranium, and could not enrich past 3.67% for 15 years. Iran would also be unable to produce plutonium at its nuclear reactors. As a result, Iran’s nuclear weapon breakout time would extend from the current estimate of 2-3 months to one year if they chose to break agreement at any point. Iran will in return get the release of around $100 billion of frozen assets, and sanction relief from three different entities; the United Nations, the Executive Orders of the U.S. President and the U.S. Congress.
Due to the international acceptance of a one-year nuclear weapon breakout capability, and the influx of funds into Iran’s economy that could easily double with newly-allowed foreign investment, Iran will likely emerge as a major economic and military power. The countries in the region, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel will have to significantly hedge their military capabilities in order to deter Iran and maintain the status-quo. Without nuclear capability, Iran in turn will exponentially boost its primary means of power projection – its ballistic missiles of all ranges, to influence, deter and threaten both the region and major powers.
Iran’s ballistic missile activity is not restricted under this agreement. It places no caps on the ranges or quantities of ballistic and cruise missiles Iran possesses. Iran has been adamant from the onset of negotiations that it would accept no limits on its missile forces, and that U.S. insistence on including them in an agreement would be a deal breaker.
When this historic understanding is finalized, it will drive the need for missile defense and partnership capacity between the smaller GCC nations and the United States unlike any other political event in the history of the region. Moreover, it will encourage Israel, and to some extent Saudi Arabia to become more self-dependent for their defense and more preemptive on their offense as strained relations from the outcome of this deal may degrade trust in their reliance upon the United States.
The agreement, with its permitted one year breakout time, will still require the United States and Europe to continue to go unabated with investments and deployments of missile defense systems to hedge against the possibility of this Iran deal unraveling.
Deal or no deal, we need missile defense.
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.