Iranian Nuclear Crisis

Iranian Nuclear Crisis

Renewed threat of Israeli military strikes against Iran as a result of a breakdown in nuclear negotiations and/or clear evidence of intent to develop a nuclear weapons capability


The prospects for a breakthrough in the nuclear standoff with Iran have recently improved, but a lasting settlement of the dispute is still uncertain. Following the election of President Hassan Rouhani in June 2013, Iran has signaled its desire to reach a mutually acceptable final agreement that resolves the status of its nuclear enrichment and reprocessing activities. Since 2006, the United Nations (UN) has passed nine resolutions on Iran, but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is still unable to confirm if there are potential military dimensions of Iran’s clandestine operations.

In response, the United States has led international efforts to pressure Iran through economic sanctions to comply with the UN resolutions. Diplomatic efforts involving the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) reached an interim agreement in November 2013 that would verifiably prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The negotiating parties set a July 20, 2014 deadline to reach a final comprehensive agreement, which was then extended twice to July 2015.

On April 2, the P5+1 and Iran reached a framework for the final deal, but there are still obstacles in the way of a long-term agreement that both satisfies Iran’s desire to develop nuclear energy and reassures its international counterparts, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia, of its peaceful intent. The threat of renewed tensions stemming from a breakdown of the interim agreement and even the possibility of military strikes cannot be discounted.

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