Yes, there is a better Iran deal to be had

For his part, the president seems to believe that he negotiated a near-perfect deal. In his recent speech at American University, he described the pact as a “permanent” solution to the Iranian nuclear problem. It was a shift from when he told an NPR interviewer in April that once limitations on Iran’s centrifuges and enrichment activities expire in 15 years, Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon would be “shrunk almost down to zero.” Both statements—achieving a “permanent” solution and Iran having near-zero breakout time—cannot be true.

The president has said a “better deal” is a fantasy. But you never took seriously the unknowable assertion that the Iran accord is “the best deal possible,” as though any negotiator emerging from talks would suggest that what he or she has received is anything but “the best deal possible.” And you cringe whenever advocates of the agreement hype its achievements as “unprecedented,” knowing this is not a synonym for “guaranteed effective.”

You may not believe in unicorns, as Secretary of State John Kerry said you must to accept the idea of a “better deal,” but you have been impressed by suggestions on how to strengthen the agreement. The United States could even implement many of these proposals without reopening negotiations with the Iranians and the P5+1 group of world powers.