VIENNA (AP) — In selling the Iran nuclear deal to Congress and other skeptics, President Barack Obama said it is built on “unprecedented verification,” telling his radio audience over the weekend: “If Iran cheats, the world will know it.”
Only time will tell if Obama is right. While Iran could try to push back or cover up, it certainly has little incentive for deceit.
Its negotiators returned home to jubilant crowds hailing the prospect of an end to the crippling economic sanctions that forced Iran to the negotiating table in the first place. On Tuesday, even the chief of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard joined in praising their efforts.
Tehran thus is unlikely to risk the prospect of having the sanctions re-imposed — the penalty for cheating. More likely, Iran will push for every loophole any agreement provides but honor it, and wait out the strict restrictions any deal will impose.
Still, hoping that Iran will toe the line isn’t enough. Distrust about its intentions will persist long after the fleeting good vibes generated around the negotiating table by last week’s preliminary deal. It was designed to at least temporarily cap such potential Iranian bomb-making nuclear activities.