Condemned to endure the very war that the nuclear deal was supposed to prevent, Ariel and Romi will grow up with little hope of peace. The deal strengthens those Palestinians most opposed to peace and deepens Israeli fears that creating a Palestinian state will merely furnish Iran with another base for launching rocket attacks. The American credibility essential to mediating and guaranteeing peace will also have vanished. Having falsely promised that Iran will never possess the right to enrich uranium and retain underground facilities, Israelis and other Middle East partners will unlikely place their trust in the United States.
And by the time Ariel enters middle school and Romi celebrates her Bat Mitzvah, Iran will almost certainly be a nuclear power. By submitting false specimens from secret sites to the UN and repeatedly exploiting the minimum 24-day delay in international inspections, Iran can cheat its way to weapons-grade uranium. Or it can wait out the ten-year period, develop centrifuges capable of enriching uranium at twenty times the current rate, and emerge the following day with enough fissile material for two hundred bombs. Weaponizing — forging a warhead and the intercontinental missile to carry it — will be no obstacle for Iran, for all of its military activity is exempted from the deal.
Yet, in addition to facing an existential threat from Iran, Ariel and Romi will also find themselves living in a highly unstable nuclear neighborhood. Arab countries in the Gulf, along with Egypt and Turkey, will not wait and see if Iran complies with what they agree is a bad deal. Rather, they will develop military nuclear capabilities of their own. In a region of incessant turmoil, the question of whether these atomic arsenals might fall into jihadist hands will always haunt these young people’s lives.