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Iran Nuclear Deal’s ‘Implementation Day’

Author: Editors
January 17, 2016


The United States and European countries lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran after international inspectors said the country had complied with an agreement to curb its nuclear program. The move comes a day after Iran released five U.S. prisoners. This issue guide compiles resources and background on the sanctions, the Iranian regime, and how the shift has played out in domestic U.S. politics. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in Vienna, Austria, January 16, 2016. (Photo: Leonhard Foeger/Reuters).

The Sanctions

IAEA Director General’s Statement on Iran
Yukiyo Amano says agency inspectors have verified that Iran has completed the preparatory steps to start implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

CFR Backgrounder: International Sanctions on Iran
Unprecedented international consensus on sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking sectors imposed steep costs on the Iranian government and brought it to negotiate over its nuclear program. This CFR Backgrounder explains the U.S., EU, and UN legal frameworks, their impacts, and the mechanisms for lifting them.

RFE/RL: Iran to Rejoin World Markets With Implementation of Nuclear Deal
The lifting of sanctions will reconnect Iranian banks to the global financial system and “open its economy to a flood of funding from the around the world,” writes Ron Synovitz of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

New York Times: In Tehran, Iranians Play Down Milestone
European and Asian companies stand poised to reenter the Iranian market but the U.S. trade embargo with Iran remains, with few exceptions, writes Thomas Erdbrink in the New York Times.

USIP: Iran Primer
The U.S. Institute of Peace’s guide to the nuclear negotiations offers wide-ranging background on Iran’s politics, economy, foreign relations, and its society, in addition to running commentary, by both Western and Iranian authors.

Iranian Regime

Foreign Affairs: Time to Get Tough on Iran
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a deficient arms control agreement but an even larger issue is Washington’s lack of a comprehensive Iran policy and failure to deal with the nature of the Iranian regime, write Eliot Cohen, Eric Edelman, and CFR’s Ray Takeyh in Foreign Affairs.

U.S. State Department Report on Human Rights Practices in 2014: Iran
The annual State Department survey of rights, drawing heavily on non-U.S. government sources, found significant problems in Iran, including severe restrictions on civil liberties and “disregard for the physical integrity of persons, whom authorities arbitrarily and unlawfully detained, tortured, or killed.”

CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum: How to Promote Human Rights in Iran
By highlighting Iran’s human rights record, even amid sensitive nuclear negotiations, the Obama administration can convey to Tehran the importance it attaches to how Iran treats its citizens, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.


Bloomberg Quick Take: Iran’s Nuclear Program
Bloomberg’s Jonathan Tirone summarizes the state of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the controversy over the 2015 nuclear accord led by the United States in this explainer.

Washington Post: The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Actually Far From Over
Much of the concern over the nuclear deal has focused on Tehran’s willingness to carry out the deal’s immediate requirements, such as dismantling their centrifuges. But policymakers must start thinking about the consequences to come in ten years, when the deal expires, argues CFR’s Amy Nelson in the Washington Post.

Regional Implications

Expert Roundup: The Middle East After the Iran Nuclear Deal
The nuclear deal inked by Iran and major powers has implications not just for proliferation, but Middle Eastern security as well. Five experts weighed in on what the deal means for regional powers in this CFR Expert Roundup.

Wall Street Journal: What’s Missing From Deal Supporters’ Talk of Restraining Iran? Specifics
Despite the Obama administration’s assurances that the Iran deal will mean real consequences for Tehran’s misbehavior, the deal fails to provide the kind of specific measures that would lend U.S. policy credibility in the region, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh in the Wall Street Journal.

Foreign Affairs: Saudi Arabia and Iran’s Forever Fight
The Iran-Saudi rivalry, exacerbated by the Saudi execution of a Shia cleric, confirms the rivalry will be intense for a long time, and become “one of the defining features of the new Middle East,” write Aaron David Miller and Jason Brodsky in Foreign Affairs.

Ongoing U.S. Debate

National Interest: Round 2 of the Iran Deal Debate in America Has Begun
Though it narrowly won congressional approval in September 2015, the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran still faces major opposition from skeptical lawmakers, writes Daniel R. DePetris for the National Interest.

Campaign 2016: Presidential Candidate Positions on Iran
U.S. Republican and Democratic presidential candidates offer their views on the Iran nuclear deal and broader policies toward Tehran in this CFR special issue tracker.

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