Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said in reaction to the nuclear deal the Obama administration announced this morning with Iran “There’s a lot of anger” in Israel and “many capitals in the Arab world,” which could “very possibly,” result in a Middle east nuclear arms race.
Engel said “There’s a lot of anger here and not just in Israel. In many capitals in the Arab world, there is deep distrust with this agreement. Basically, the Arab world and Israel both do not think that Iran will abide by the deal. That it will cheat and that this agreement will give Iran more money, more power, more political clout to continue its policies in the Middle East that are causing a lot of instability right now in Syria, in Yemen and Lebanon.”
When asked about the possibility of a really volatile Middle East arms race Engel said, “It is very possible. In one sense you have to look at this as a gamble. The U.S. is taking a gamble. And for the U.S., there’s relatively low risk. The U.S. is far away, its involvement in the Middle East is with a few advisers, with drones and if it doesn’t work, there are clauses in place to snap the sanctions back. So for the U.S. it’s a gamble with, let’s say, acceptable downside. For the region right now, this is not like Cuba, this is not like Myanmar. There are active conflicts under way in which Iran is a major party to those conflicts. There is a possibility that this agreement could just be adding more fuel to the sectarian fire. It will embolden groups like ISIS, which will now see Iran and the U.S. in collusion. It will cause Saudi Arabia to become more nervous that it’s being surrounded by Iranian expansionism. An arms race is possible and a worsening of the active regional conflicts in the region is also possible.”
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