Iranians celebrate nuclear deal Rouzbeh Fouladi/ZumaPress

The Iran Deal’s North Korean Shadow

Many critics of the Iranian nuclear agreement compare Iran’s behavior to that of North Korea, suggesting that the deal will not hold because deals with North Korea never have. The key question is whether Iran's leaders understand that the agreement represents a defining moment for their country.

DENVER – It didn’t take long, but, according to the Korean Central News Agency, the North Koreans are underwhelmed by the Iran nuclear deal – and thus unlikely to follow suit. The North Korean announcement took pains to differentiate the Pyongyang regime’s program from the Iranian one, and fell back on shopworn lines that nuclear weapons were necessary to counter the United States’ “hostile polices.” North Korea’s leaders, not exactly known for fresh thinking, are likely to soldier on into a future that has little to offer their beleaguered people.

Many critics of the Iranian nuclear agreement compare Iran’s behavior to that of North Korea, and suggest that the deal will not hold because deals with North Korea never held. There are indeed some similarities.

Iran has been challenged over the years to tell the truth about its nuclear program and, more fundamentally, to be clear about its goals and objectives. And Iran’s behavior in the broader Middle East – particularly its support for terrorist groups in the region – seems to belie its claim to be seeking regional stability and economic development. While most countries in the world are disgusted with North Korea’s behavior, Iran appears to consider the country a trading partner and a kindred spirit.

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