So the basic tradeoff achieved by Secretary of State John Kerry in the talks with Iran boils down to this: Iran has to watch its step for ten years. Then all bets are off.
A year later, bombs away! By 2025, most of the sanctions will have been lifted and there will be no incentive for Iran to keep its deal to limit uranium enrichment. And, in any event, the limits will have been weakened after the ten year period.
What other nation could be content for its principal adversary to reach a deal not to annihilate it until ten years have passed?
Obama's and Kerry's strategy for getting the deal through Congress becomes evident. Get Iran to agree to a relatively tough deal for now in return for a short deadline and no restrictions thereafter. All the skeptics have focused their attention on the outcome of the talks and the issues at play that nobody has been impolite enough to address the central question of how long the deal will restrain Iran. Those Democrats who pose as Israel's friends in Congress will now likely cave in and go along with the deal as the best we can get.
But that will be because the Administration agreed to a time limit to the deal in the first place.
Twenty years is no better, really, than ten.
The issue is not duration, but whether or not there is change in the goals and aspirations of the Iranian regime. If it remains hell bent on destroying Israel, what does it matter how soon they can get the bomb. Israel is ultimately doomed.
The deal should not be contingent on how much time has elapsed, but on whether Iran demonstrates that it has stepped back from confrontation, subversion, expansionism, and terrorism.
If there is an improvement in the behavior of Teheran, as there was in Moscow until Putin took over and as there has been in Beijing, then there can be a relaxation of sanctions and limits.
But not before.