Iran got cash and sanctions released so that Iran can lock in long-term deals immune to future sanctions. Now that Iran has the cash and the knowledge that we will pay for hostages, Iran could scuttle the nuclear deal with confidence that Iran has a source of more cash even without the deal.
So Iran's Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) have an incentive to provoke America into a clash with Iran that would provoke either America or Iran to cancel the deal:
Iranian fast boats have once again harassed an American ship in the Persian Gulf, forcing a U.S. Navy patrol boat to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision with one of the fast boats that sped at it head-on.
American officials have labeled the Iranian actions in Sunday's encounter involving the USS Firebolt (PC 10) as "unsafe and unprofessional." It is the latest in a string of such incidents over the past two weeks where small craft from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) have harassed American Navy ships in the Gulf.
"The USS Firebolt, a patrol craft, was operating in international waters in the central Arabian Gulf, was approached by seven fast-attack craft from Iran," Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters today.
Seriously, the deal is so bad that Iran has little incentive to stay in the deal now.
Which leaves America in the position of ignoring provocations hoping that we get the long-term benefits (and hoping that the Iranians don't get frustrated and open fire, killing American sailors) or acting forcefully and giving either the Iranians an excuse to exit the deal or provide Americans long-opposed to this horrible deal reason to exit it.
And if we don't respond, Iran gets the image of Iran bullying us at sea with no consequences. Which is nice for them, too.
Given that I believe the incentives structure of the deal encourages America and the West to ignore (as we did right off the bat) Iranian violations (with the self delusion that none are significant in the bid picture) in order to keep the hope of benefits alive, I don't want to rely on the deal despite the epic diplomatic failure of giving Iran the benefits upfront.
Rather than sticking with a bad deal and fooling ourselves that it will work out in the long run, it would be better to face Iran under the mullahs who have nuclear weapons ambitions with open eyes aware that we stupidly strengthened Iran, with a resolve to apply the pressure again as long as it takes to cripple Iran, bolster our allies who oppose Iran, and look for an opening to support revolution or revolt against the mullah-run rule that is unpopular with much of the Persian and subject populations.
Liberals were once outraged when Oliver North made an effort to trade with mullah-run Iran to get better behavior from them. Who knew liberals just believed we didn't offer Iran nearly enough to get better behavior?