Gary Sick: World will be far more dangerous without Iran deal

August 17, 2015 - 0:0

By Hossein Amiri

@t= TEHRAN – Gary Sick, a former principal White House aide, believes that Congress should allow the White House to implement the nuclear deal with Iran because the world will be “far more dangerous” without the agreement.

“If Congress truly wants the best deal possible, they should give White House the space to implement it because a world without an Iranian nuclear deal far more dangerous than the alternative,” Sick says in an exclusive interview the Tehran Times.

On July 14 Iran and major powers (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) inked an agreement according to which Iran slows down its nuclear program and agrees to more intrusive inspections.

The deal, winning international praise, has been described as historic.

Sick also dismisses ideas by certain analysts and President Barack Obama’s opponents that the nuclear deal between Iran and the great powers will set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

“A nuclear deal with Iran will not set off an arms race in the Middle East. Since the signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, there hasn’t been an incident in which a country obtaining nuclear weapons set off an open-ended regional proliferation cascade,” Sick notes.

Sick, an expert on Middle East affairs, indirectly suggests that it is absurd to think that the nuclear deal is a prelude for nuclear weapons proliferation. “If a country building a bomb doesn’t prompt a cascade, why would a deal that prevents Iran from building a weapon trigger a proliferation event?”

With exemption of Israel all countries in the Middle East region have welcomed the nuclear pact between Iran and the West. Oman even pushed for backchannel talks between Iran and the U.S.

“Most of the countries in the region are ardent supporters of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. Egypt gave up its program in the 1960s and doesn’t have the resources to restart it, and the NATO umbrella protects Turkey,” says Sick who is currently a professor of Columbia University.

Saudi Arabia, which is at loggerheads with Iran over the Syrian and Yemeni conflicts and the pro-democracy movements in Bahrain, has been showing reservations about the nuclear deal. There had been claims that Saudi Arabia might even seek to build nuclear weapons if Iran was allowed to keep its nuclear program.

“It is unlikely that Saudi Arabia–Iran’s primary regional adversary–will try to build a nuclear weapon, with or without a nuclear deal,” the professor said. “Saudi Arabia does not (even) have the infrastructure or technical expertise to develop a weapon.”

Sick says Saudi Arabia would also “sacrifice its security relationship with the United States” if it pursues nuclear weapons.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as a rival to Iran, fears that Washington might turn to more powerful Iran and ignores Riyadh now that the nuclear dispute is over. However Sick believes the nuclear agreement with Iran “will not dramatically shift U.S. alliances in the Middle East.”

Washington has insisted that it will remain committed to protecting the security of its allies, especially Israel, in the Middle East, a move which some analysts say is intended to lessen opposition to the nuclear deal by Tel Aviv and the opponents at home.

“The United States is taking strong steps to assure Israel and Saudi Arabia of its commitment to their security, promising Israel more aid and additional F-35s, and providing arms deals to the Persian Gulf states while negotiating a deal that makes them safer,” stated Sick who served on the U.S. National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter, and for a couple weeks under Reagan