The Middle East After Vienna

Here's What Will Happen If the Iran Deal Falls Through

An Iranian flag is pictured next to Russian-made Sam-6 surface-to-air missiles during a war exhibition held by Iran's revolutionary guard to mark the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war, September 25, 2010. Morteza Nikoubazl / Reuters

The Iranian and P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany) negotiators in Vienna seem to be on the brink of reaching an agreement to significantly limit Iran’s nuclear program and place it under strict international monitoring. But what if they fail to bridge their differences in the final hours? Or what if the U.S. Congress scuttles a deal down the road—a less likely but still worrying outcome? Indeed, with the principle that “no deal is better than a bad deal” likely to dominate any congressional debate, it is a good moment to examine what the Middle East might look like without a nuclear deal.

Failure to reach or approve a deal would likely produce one or more of the following: an expanded Iranian nuclear program; an erosion of broad international sanctions without any benefit to regional and global security; heightened potential

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