Iran is going to develop a nuke whether we want it to or not, if they choose to do so. The focus should not be on trying to prevent what I think is unpreventable, but rather should be on convincing Iran that such a course is not profitable, and that abstaining is profitable. With India and Pakistan–two nations we definitely did not want to have the bomb either, and frankly Pakistan scares me a lot more than Iran in this context–we’ve focused on making it damn clear to both parties that now that they have their toys, they can’t actually play with them. As far as I can tell, the rest of the nuclear community has worked pretty hard to make sure Pakistan and India develop decent means of securing and controlling their nukes, an approach that would probably work with Iran if absolutely necessary.
I’d rather not have any more nuclear weapons floating around and Tehran sure has been somewhat erratic, too much so for my tastes to entrust them with nukes, but I also think focusing on non-proliferation in the traditional sense is fruitless. After Osirak, everyone with a clandestine program buried it deep, so there’s very little chance the Israelis, or even the US, could really eliminate with force the Iranian program. It’s pretty likely too that the Israeli attack on Iraq actually pushed Saddam into researching WMDs, rather than stopping him. I doubt force against Iran in this case would do anything less, considering that the main reason Tehran wants nukes isn’t to attack Israel–which would be suicide, and these guys aren’t IS–but to deter what they see as threats from us. An attack on Iran would simply solidify the hardliners’ hold and justify for the moderates a view of the US and Israel as existential threats.
There are real reasons to be wary of Tehran’s role in the region, and their good faith in any agreement. But we signed agreements with the Soviets, who weren’t exactly choir boys either and could, unlike Iran, actually wipe us off the map. I would love to see secret talks with Iran to use this deal as leverage to rein in the Shia activists that are exacerbating the situation in places like Yemen and push the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to be more conciliatory.
As for Israel, my patience has been eroded over the years. I grew up admiring Israel and still have a love for the people and the country; as a Jew myself, it’s one of those things that comes pretty naturally. But politically I’ve grown weary of the constant reduction of every event in the region to an alleged existential threat, and the insistence that the only acceptable security for Israel is the constant insecurity of every one else in the region. I also firmly believe the current government there is deliberately scare-mongering to deflect attention from the much more intractable and ultimately more crucial problems Israel has closer to home. Is Iran a threat? Sure, like most of the states in the region who would probably not be unhappy for bad things to happen to Israel. But the Iranians are probably more rational, ultimately, than the Sunni fanatics in Saudi and the Gulf, not to mention IS–which only has avoided confrontation with Israel I think because it has its hands full elsewhere.
That being said, I haven’t seen the specifics of this particular deal, but in the long run, Iran is going to be a key player in the region and if we want to “save” Iraq, we need Tehran.