Military Historian on Iran Deal: ‘Would Be Seen as Stunning Capitulation’

( Max Boot, a military historian and former adviser to U.S. commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq, said on Wednesday that if the United States agrees to a nuclear deal with Iran with the terms that have been leaked from the negotiations, it would be seen as a “stunning capitulation” by America’s allies and could result in the “nuclearization” of other countries in the Middle East. asked Boot and the other panelists at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) discussion about what a nuclear agreement with Iran would mean to the spread of terrorists, such as the Islamic State, given that Iran is a state-sponsor of terror, as designated by the U.S. State Department.

“If we were to reach some kind of deal on the terms that have been leaked where it would maybe somewhat constrain the Iranian program for maybe a decade but allow them to have thousands of centrifuges, allow them not to come clean about their past nuclear activity, not allow unfettered inspections, not force them to take reprocessed fuel out of the country – under all those terms we then agree to their primary demand, which is to lift the multi-lateral sanctions right away – this would be seen as a stunning capitulation, not only in Israel but in the Sunni Arab states,” Boot said.

“I think it would, in fact, make the situation worse because I think the obvious Saudi countermove is that they will go nuclear themselves if they see that the United States is acquiescing in a nuclear program in Iran,” Boot said. “So that to my mind is actually a pretty frightening scenario.”

According to the State Department, Iran has been designated as a State Sponsor of Terror since 1984 and has supported terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories, Yemen, Syria, Africa, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon.

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Max Boot, a Jeane J. Kirkpatrick Senior Fellow at National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and former adviser to military commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, spoke about the U.S. negotiations with Iran at an event at CFR on March 31, 2015. ( Starr)

“Iran views Syria as a crucial causeway in its weapon’s supply route to Hizballah [in Lebanon] its primary beneficiary,” the State Department report states. “In 2013, Iran continued to provide arms, financing, training, and the facilitation of Iraqi Shia fighters to the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown, a crackdown that has resulted in the death of more than 100,000 civilians in Syria.”

The report also cites Iran’s failure to live up to promises it has already made regarding its nuclear program.

“Iran remains a state of proliferation concern,” the report reads. “Despite multiple UNSCRs [United Nations Security Council Resolutions] requiring Iran to suspend its sensitive nuclear proliferation activities, Iran continued to violate its international obligations regarding its nuclear program.”

The other panelists at the CFR event were Audrey Kurth Cronin, professor at the School of Public Policy, Government and International Affairs at George Mason University, and Janine Davidson, a senior fellow for defense policy at CFR.

Max Boot, according to his bio at the CFR, “served as an adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.”  He is the Jeane J. Kilpatrick Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and is the author of several books on military history.

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