The Instigator
MattAllen
Pro (for)
The Contender
saintnum5
Con (against)

Iran Deal

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
saintnum5 has forfeited round #4.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
00days00hours00minutes00seconds
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/24/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 135 times Debate No: 96372
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

MattAllen

Pro

First of all, I would like to thank Ashwin Ganesh, saintrum5, for presumably accepting this debate, and participating in a friendly discussion over whether or not the Iran Nuclear Deal was good.
The Iran Deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was an agreement reached on July 14th, 2015. It is widely considered to be one of the major successes of the Obama Administration, although the full affects have yet to be seen. The best word to describe this deal is "compromise". The United States, as well as other allies, negotiated the terms of this deal with Iran for years, and neither side got exactly what they wanted, as is commonplace in eventual agreements. The main criticism of this deal, is how much money the Iranian government received from the United States'. This grievance is not only unfounded, but unnecessary. The assertion that Iran would agree to all of the terms we set is quite ignorant and, to say the least, ambitious.
The ultimate goal of the agreement was to keep the Iranian government from obtaining nuclear weapons. This agreement does just that. At the time the agreement was made, many of the countries who had sanctions against Iran, which brought the Iranian government to the negotiating table, were about to end their sanctions. If we had allowed them to do this, it would have made it extremely easy for Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.
The bottom line is this: we stopped Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and that, despite the cost, was an excellent decision for the Obama Administration to make.
saintnum5

Con

Let"s start off by looking at what this deal was supposed to achieve. Obviously, the goal of these negotiations was to stop the progress of Iran with regards to making nuclear weapons, certainly a reasonable goal. However if we look at what the deal actually achieved, we can see that this is clearly not the case. The Iran deal left Iran with 5,000 working centrifuges, which isn"t even a 50% decrease from the 9,000 they previously had. We know that 9,000 centrifuges would have allowed them to create a bomb in 6.8 months, and from there we can extrapolate that 5,000 centrifuges would allow them to create a bomb in about a year. Is it really so farfetched that Iran could secretly go against the deal if it meant that they would have a nuclear bomb in one year? Of course, this is a hypothetical situation and not necessarily relevant. What is relevant is the monetary value of Iran"s assets that were freed up as part of this agreement. While not the $150 billion that some politicians like to spout, the closer estimate of $60 billion is still sizeable. Combine this with the removal of the weapons embargos on Iran and we can see that Iran does not need nuclear weapons to be a significant threat to worldwide peace. Conventional weapons from Russia and China will do just fine.
Debate Round No. 1
MattAllen

Pro

I will begin my second argument by refuting my opponents points, and then carry on with continued points of my own.
Opponent's 1st Point: "The Iran deal left Iran with 5,000 working centrifuges, which isn't even a 50% decrease from the 9,000 they previously had. We know that 9,000 centrifuges would have allowed them to create a bomb in 6.8 months, and from there we can extrapolate that 5,000 centrifuges would allow them to create a bomb in about a year. Is it really so farfetched that Iran could secretly go against the deal if it meant that they would have a nuclear bomb in one year?"
First, the fact that they still have 5,000 centrifuges is a part of the compromise. The United States would prefer, in a perfect scenario, that Iran have 0 centrifuges. However, Iran would prefer to have more than the original 9,000. We were able to decrease the threat of the potential of Iranian nuclear weapons. Second, The Iran deal occurred far more than one year go. The reason why Iran does not "have a nuclear bomb [after] one year" is simple. Because of the other parts of the deal that you chose to ignore. One of them is the fact that the United States, through the United Nations (where the United States controls a lot of power), has the ability to investigate Iranian uranium facilities whenever we want. If they attempt to build a nuclear weapon with the remaining 5,000 centrifuges, we will notice, and reimpose the sanctions and re-freeze the now unfrozen assets.
Opponents' 2nd Point: " While not the $150 billion that some politicians like to spout, the closer estimate of $60 billion is still sizeable. Combine this with the removal of the weapons embargoes on Iran and we can see that Iran does not need nuclear weapons to be a significant threat to worldwide peace."
Sure, by giving Iran access to their money and the ability to purchase weapons again, they would become more powerful. This is yet another example of the compromise. The Iranians would prefer, in a perfect scenario, many nuclear weapons, which would give them the ability to devastate a nation, like the United States (who they want "death to"). The United States, would prefer that Iran isn't a threat at all. We, through the Iran Nuclear Deal, took the option of nuclear weapons off of the table, but Iran still gets a small increase in power. That's called a compromise.

At this point, I will continue with my points.
Iran has not obtained a nuclear weapon, and the United States, and out allies, will continue to ensure that that is the case, through investigation of facilities and ability to impose sanctions. If at any point, Iran wants to cheat the deal, we will stop them. Although the main objective of the deal was to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, another was to create better relations with Iran. United States-Iranian relations are very poor right now, which is why, by working together on things like the Iran Deal, we can achieve better relations with a growing international power.
saintnum5

Con

"First, the fact that they still have 5,000 centrifuges is a part of the compromise. The United States would prefer, in a perfect scenario, that Iran have 0 centrifuges. However, Iran would prefer to have more than the original 9,000. We were able to decrease the threat of the potential of Iranian nuclear weapons."
Saying that we were able to decrease the threat of the potential Iranian nuclear weapons is pretty rich when we were not even able to decrease their capabilities to build such a weapon by 50%. Sure, the United States has the ability to investigate Iran, but what is the guarantee that they can or will regularly investigate?
"We, through the Iran Nuclear Deal, took the option of nuclear weapons off of the table, but Iran still gets a small increase in power. That's called a compromise."
I would say that gaining access to the ability to buy conventional weapons and $60 billion dollars is a little bit more that a "small increase in power." We basically gave them a DIY kit to attacking other countries; access to weapons on a large scale, and a requisite sum of money to start them off. We have to look at why we were so bent on taking away their ability to create nuclear weapons that we gave them a huge amount of military power in exchange.
" Although the main objective of the deal was to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, another was to create better relations with Iran."
Oh boy, this is a good one. I think we can safely say that this objective has summarily failed, considering in your very words that Iran still wants "death to" the United States. That's not a small disagreement, or even a large argument. That's like if someone was sending you death threats repeatedly and you tried to give them stuff to make your relationship better. Obviously the situation with countries is much more complicated and it's a fallacy to represent Iran with one person, but clearly better relations with Iran were not achieved.
The above rebuttal leads me into my next point, which is to ask the question, "What was the Iran Deal supposed to achieve?" The conductors of the deal have been no less than cagey about this, so it's left up to us to hypothesize. The most obvious goal would be to to remove Iran's capability to create nuclear weapons, but to that I ask, "Why?" We certainly haven't permanently removed this capability, as the deal will wear off in 10-15 years. We have given them the resources to build up a sizeable conventional arsenal in the meantime, and Iranian government leaders have many times expressed the fact that they can get around the restrictions we have put in place to stop the creations of a nuclear weapon. They have the ability to delay inspections with red tape and bureaucracy, as said by the Iranian Foreign Minister. The other goal of improving relations with Iran is definitely far from achieved, especially considering the leader of Iran said that they will not change their opposition towards America. What exactly did this deal accomplish?
Debate Round No. 2
MattAllen

Pro

"Saying that we were able to decrease the threat of the potential Iranian nuclear weapons is pretty rich when we were not even able to decrease their capabilities to build such a weapon by 50%."
We were able to decrease the threat of the potential for Iranian nuclear weapons. No matter how substantial that decrease was, we made the world a little more safe and more peaceful by decreasing the threat that Iran would face to the world's people.
"Sure, the United States has the ability to investigate Iran, but what is the guarantee that they can or will regularly investigate?"
If the United States didn't investigate the Iranian uranium facilities, that wouldn't be the fault of the deal, it would be the fault of the United States for not taking advantage of what we were given in the deal.
"I would say that gaining access to the ability to buy conventional weapons and $60 billion dollars is a little bit more that a 'small increase in power.' We basically gave them a DIY kit to attacking other countries; access to weapons on a large scale, and a requisite sum of money to start them off. We have to look at why we were so bent on taking away their ability to create nuclear weapons that we gave them a huge amount of military power in exchange."
First, allowing them to purchase weapons that most countries in the world, regardless of power standing, and allowing them access to their own money is no more than a minimal increase in power. We "were so bent on taking away their ability to create nuclear weapons", because a nuclear warhead in by far the most dangerous and destructive weapon on the face of the earth. Because Iran hates the United States, if we allowed them access to the most dangerous and destructive weapon on the planet, we would basically be allowing the proceeding of our demise to occur.
" I think we can safely say that this objective has summarily failed, considering in your very words that Iran still wants 'death to' the United States."
First, the agreement was a little more than one year ago. We have no idea how effective this agreement was in mending our affairs with Iran, yet, because we haven't given it much time. However, the idea was that if we could work together and compromise on something that we both felt strongly about, it would open up a higher quality discussion with Iran, and provide us with the framework to solve other grievances we have with one another.
"They have the ability to delay inspections with red tape and bureaucracy, as said by the Iranian Foreign Minister."
They can try their best to delay the process of investigation, but the United States Government has said many times that it will make sure that we carry out our side of the deal, and investigate them whenever we think it's necessary.

I will answer your question, as my point. "What exactly did this deal accomplish?'
Before this agreement was made, it would have taken Iran two or three months to gather enough fissile material to build a nuclear weapon. Today, because of the Iran Deal, it would take them a year, if not longer. With the unprecedented amount of monitoring of their uranium facilities, we will re-institute sanctions on Iran immediately.
"So far Iran has: shipped 25,000 pounds of enriched uranium out of the country; dismantled and removed two-thirds of its centrifuges; removed the calandria from its heavy water reactor and filled it with concrete; and provided unprecedented access to its nuclear facilities and supply chain." (WhiteHouse.Gov). We have accomplished a lot, and if Iran breaks its end of the bargain, they will receive the consequences.
saintnum5

Con

"We were able to decrease the threat of the potential for Iranian nuclear weapons. No matter how substantial that decrease was, we made the world a little more safe and more peaceful by decreasing the threat that Iran would face to the world's people."
Obviously I am not trying to argue that the Iran Deal accomplished literally nothing, as that is by definition not true. What I am arguing is that the minimal decrease in the threat of the Iranian nuclear threat was in no way worth all of the assets that we gave them access to.

"If the United States didn't investigate the Iranian uranium facilities, that wouldn't be the fault of the deal, it would be the fault of the United States for not taking advantage of what we were given in the deal."
Of course the United States choosing not to investigate Iran wouldn't be the fault of the deal. However, setting up a situation where the U.S. is obligated to spend time and money on yet another task is not something I'd call a pro. It is entirely possible that a situation will come up where the inconvenience of organizing such an investigation time and time again combined with the difficulty of actually completing a comprehensive investigation on time with severe opposition from Iran will become too much and whoever is responsible for such investigations will be required to shirk their duties in some way.

"They can try their best to delay the process of investigation, but the United States Government has said many times that it will make sure that we carry out our side of the deal, and investigate them whenever we think it's necessary."
With regards to the difficulty of the investigation, at this point it is simply our word against theirs. However, there is one big difference here: if the Iranian government cannot follow up on their words some number of times, it doesn't matter to them. If the United States cannot follow up on their words even once, that could create a potential catastrophe. The US government has to be 100% right and the Iranian government has to never be correct to avoid a disaster. The more moving cogs you involve in a system, the more likely it is that one of them will rust or break.

"Because Iran hates the United States, if we allowed them access to the most dangerous and destructive weapon on the planet, we would basically be allowing the proceeding of our demise to occur."
"However, the idea was that if we could work together and compromise on something that we both felt strongly about, it would open up a higher quality discussion with Iran, and provide us with the framework to solve other grievances we have with one another."
I'm just going to leave this two quotes here and watch them contradict each other...
We can't both be cutting off Iran from the nuclear bomb because they hate us and also trying to open up discussions about how we can become friends.

"We "were so bent on taking away their ability to create nuclear weapons", because a nuclear warhead in by far the most dangerous and destructive weapon on the face of the earth."
I agree that a nuclear weapon is the most destructive and dangerous weapon on the face of the earth. However, they are not the only ways for Iran to attack other countries. The "Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power", or ATBIP, is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the world currently. Its explosion has an effect similar to that of a tactical nuke, without the radiation. These thermobaric weapons are incredibly strong, and certainly enough to cause tremendous loss of life in any highly-populated city. This weapon in particular was created by the Russians, who I'm sure would be more than happy to take Iran's new money. My point is that by opening up all of these alleyways, we may have created a bigger threat than we started with.

The US has to decide whether we want to treat Iran as a friend and ally, or as an enemy. If we are going to treat them as friends, why are we cutting them off from the ability to create nuclear weapons? If we are going to treat them as enemies, why are we giving them money and resources? In addition, we still have not gotten Iran to give up information about their past nuclear works, including on international ballistic missiles that can carry nukes across the globe. The very fact that Iran is already going against their agreement to give inspectors access to all nuclear facilities is a symptom of the weak deal that we have gotten ourselves into.
Debate Round No. 3
MattAllen

Pro

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ashwin Ganesh for a lovely debate. This has not only been substantive, but truly enjoyable as well. Now, let me complete my argument of why the Iran Deal was a success.
"Of course the United States choosing not to investigate Iran wouldn't be the fault of the deal. However, setting up a situation where the U.S. is obligated to spend time and money on yet another task is not something I'd call a pro."
Under the terms of the agreement, it wouldn't be the United States that is subsidizing the investigation of Iran's uranium facilities, it is the United Nations. Since the United States has a lot of power within the United Nations, we would be the ones leading said investigation, but not subsidizing it.
"We can't both be cutting off Iran from the nuclear bomb because they hate us and also trying to open up discussions about how we can become friends."
Sure we can, although I wouldn't necessarily say "friends". We can stop a country from obtaining nuclear weapons in the interim, while also attempting to improve relations with said country, in efforts to be in less risk of being harmed by them.
"My point is that by opening up all of these alleyways, we may have created a bigger threat than we started with."
What "we started with" was the threat of being attacked by nuclear weapons. There is no greater threat than that of nuclear weapons. I cannot stress this enough. Not matter what we gave them in return, stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear warheads was a major success because we are keeping our citizens and our country safe.
"The US has to decide whether we want to treat Iran as a friend and ally, or as an enemy."
Again, this is not a one-sided choice. We don't have to decide one or the other. We can keep ourselves, and other allies, safe from the threat that Iran poses, while also attempting to work with them to ensure that they don't want to pose a threat to us in the first place. In a perfect world, we wouldn't have to worry about Iran's ability to create a nuclear weapon, but this is clearly not a perfect world. We do have to worry about the threat Iran poses to us, but, through diplomatic efforts, can also strive to make Iran an ally in the future. If not an ally, at least not an enemy.

This is a dangerous world. Nuclear weapons make the world many times more dangerous than it already is. Several countries, including the United States and Russia, have acknowledged the destruction of nuclear warfare and of nuclear power. That is why they are attempting to decrease everyone's nuclear stockpiles. Why, if we truly wanted to live in a safer world, would we allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons? Why, if we truly wanted to live in a safer world, would we not attempt improving relations with an enemy? Why, if we truly wanted to live in a safer world, would we refuse to compromise on controversial issues? As I have said throughout this debate, the Iran Deal is not perfect. No compromise, reasonable to both sides, is. But we as a nation have to choose. Do we want to risk the lives of the world's population by allowing dangerous countries to obtain nuclear weapons because we are to ignorant to compromise, or do we want to live in a safer world where nations can work together on issues where they disagree, and they can live without threat of nuclear warfare?
Thank you again, Ashwin, for this excellent debate, and I hope the voters can agree than PRO won.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
This debate has 0 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.