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5 questions every presidential candidate should answer: Iran deal edition

July 28, 2015

By J. Matthew McInnis

Almost every presidential candidate has weighed in on the Iran nuclear deal reached earlier this month, including Donald Trump. Democratic front-runner Hilary Clinton cautiously welcomed the deal and noted it will “put a lid” on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. She warned Tehran’s destabilizing activities and threat to Israel still require a stringent response, noting that her posture as president would be “Don’t trust, and verify.” Republican candidates have uniformly rejected the agreement. They have been somewhat divided, however, on the best way to undo the damage: rip it up on inauguration day or take a more deliberate process to revise the deal. Regardless, if the nuclear agreement is still in place by January 2017, the next president will confront a host of strategic issues set off by the deal’s implementation.

Here are five questions that any credible presidential candidate should have clear answers to:

1. How should the United States best guarantee Israel’s security and survival after the nuclear deal?

After eight strained years, the next president will have a better relationship with Jerusalem practically by default. However, more substantive steps need to be taken to reassure Israel in this post-deal Middle East. Lebanese Hezbollah and other Iranian partners and proxies will likely be flush with new rockets, missiles, and other military capabilities that in the coming decade could overwhelm Israel’s defensive systems, including the Iron Dome. A future commander-in-chief will have to consider: what does the United States need to do to strengthen Israeli deterrence and capabilities against Iran’s ballistic missiles, whose accuracy will almost certainly improve? Should the United States ensure that Israel retains viable military and covert options against Iran’s nuclear program? Does Israel have a credible cyber deterrent against Iran?

Read the full article at the American Enterprise Institute: 5 questions every presidential candidate should answer: Iran deal edition