FALMOUTH — The Iran nuclear deal will significantly affect the Middle East and the entire world over the next few decades and must be carefully evaluated.

Three years ago, concerned about Iran’s illegal and clandestine nuclear program, the world’s six major powers cooperated to apply strong economic sanctions against Iran. These actions crippled the Iranian economy, with unemployment reaching 40 percent, the inflation rate over 50 percent and its young, educated public showing discontent with its government.

In spite of its economic woes, Iran continued to provide over a billion dollars a month to aid Bashar Assad in Syria, gave tens of millions of dollars so that Hamas could rebuild tunnels and re-arm, financed and trained their proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Shia militia in Iraq as well as the Houthis in Yemen. Iran’s dire economic situation brought it to the negotiating table.

Three years ago, President Obama fully acknowledged Iran’s position and said that direct talks with Iran were scheduled but there would be no negotiations, since Iran already knew what the major powers needed: an end to that country’s nuclear program.

The six richest and most powerful countries started the talks from a dominant position and then, over the next couple of years, caved in on one issue after another. At the end, the P5-1 acted as if they desperately needed an agreement at any cost.

An excellent example why this is a bad deal involves the final agreement on inspections and verification. The president has repeatedly stated that this agreement depends on verification and not on trust. What started out as “anytime, anywhere” inspections has become an Iranian written protocol that would be worthy of a Jon Stewart skit.

The International Atomic Energy Agency would request permission to investigate an undeclared site. It would then be required to “provide Iran the basis for such concerns and request clarification,” thereby revealing intelligence that Iran could act on.

Iran will have a total of 24 days before it would have to allow the inspection, more than enough time to clean up the area of concern. I cannot imagine the FBI agreeing to such a protocol.

President Obama and Congress have repeatedly stated that containment of a nuclear Iran was not an option and that the U.S. is committed to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. The final deal delays but definitely does not prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, since the restrictions on its nuclear program expire over a 10- to 15-year period.

The nuclear facilities and equipment are all still intact, although some are temporarily offline. In exchange, Iran will receive about $150 billion that is currently frozen and relief of sanctions that will allow the economy to prosper and generate over $20 billion a year in oil revenues.

The administration has assured us that this is the best deal possible and would lead to a “safer and more secure world.” Unfortunately, key voices in the area come up with a different assessment.

On July 18, before a crowd of thousands who were chanting “Death to America,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said: “We repeatedly said we don’t negotiate with the U.S. … There are some exceptions like the nuclear program that we negotiated with the Americans to serve our interests. … We will never stop supporting our friends in the region and the people of Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Lebanon. Even after this deal, our policy toward the arrogant U.S. will not change.”

On July 17, Taylor Luck of The Christian Science Monitor reported: “The nuclear deal that will lift tough sanctions on Iran is mobilizing Saudi Arabia to turn the tide against its regional rival in Yemen and Syria before it makes an economic recovery, military officials and analysts say. According to the sources, the military component of the Saudi offensive will include the use of special forces on the ground in Yemen … .”

If the Iran deal leads to increased conflict and war in the Middle East, then these negotiations would be compared to the agreement British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made with Adolf Hitler in 1938. At the end of World War II, it was said that if the free world had confronted evil in a more timely fashion, 50 million people would still be alive.

The U.S. Congress now has the great responsibility of carefully evaluating the nuclear agreement and determining whether American and international interests will be best served by it.

I am still hopeful that strong economic sanctions with additional negotiations can control Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions and avoid conflicts and bloodshed.