Op-Eds

Published opinions and arguments by CFR fellows and experts.

On Iran, Congress Should Just Say No

Authors: Ray Takeyh and Eric Edelman
Washington Post

While no agreement is perfect, the scale of imperfection of the Iran nuclear deal is so great that it is imperative to renegotiate a more stringent one, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh with former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman. To do so, Congress must reject the deal and push the United States and Iran to return to the table.

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements

Reagan, Nixon and Lessons for Obama’s Iran Deal

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

The agreement on Iran’s nuclear program announced this week has got pundits everywhere talking about Reagan gambling on Gorbachev and Nixon going to China. President Barack Obama, who has made both comparisons, insists that the deal is not based on hope that Iran will “mellow.” The author Sestanovich analyses what history tells us about reaching out to hostile ideological regimes.

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The Big Winners of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

Who are the real winners of the Iran nuclear deal? Defense planners in U.S. Central Command and the Pentagon, says Micah Zenko, because “concepts, informal arrangements, and detailed plans that go into defense planning would have all been vastly more difficult, costly, and risky.”

See more in Iran; Treaties and Agreements

Living With the Iran Nuclear Deal

Author: Richard N. Haass
Project Syndicate

 A bigger problem has received much less attention: the risk of what will happen if Iran does comply with the agreement. Even without violating the accord, Iran can position itself to break out of nuclear constraints when the agreement’s critical provisions expire. At that point, there will be little to hold it back except the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a voluntary agreement that does not include penalties for non-compliance

See more in United States; Iran; Treaties and Agreements

Suppose Iran Doesn’t Cheat but Abides by a Nuclear Deal. What Then?

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

If an Iran nuclear deal is reached, there are three areas of debate: the deal would disarm the U.S. psychologically; the Iranians might cheat; and the Iranians comply. If Iran does abide by the agreement, the Obama administration could respond in two ways—intrusive inspections, or does not fully accept the agreement.

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The Unavoidable Contradiction in Striking a Nuclear Deal With Iran

Author: Ray Takeyh
Wall Street Journal

The U.S. and Iran are struggling to conclude what could be one of the most permissive arms-control agreements in history. Defenders of a deal insist that the U.S. could still hold Iran accountable for its pernicious policies, regardless of an accord. Such assurances miss the point that maintenance of an arms-control agreement is inconsistent with a coercive policy.

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Greece’s Lesson for Ukraine: More Populism, Please

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

Can Western governments learn anything from the Greek fiasco that will produce a better result in Ukraine?  There are countless differences between the two situations, but one big similarity should worry us: In both countries an economic crisis has begotten a political crisis, and the two have begun to feed on each other.

See more in Greece; Ukraine; Financial Crises; Politics and Strategy

The Payoff for Iran

Author: Ray Takeyh
Washington Post

The massive financial gains from a nuclear deal would enable Iran’s imperial ambitions in a fracturing Middle East, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. At the same time, the Islamic Republic would invest the money in consolidating the power of a repressive regime.

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements

Bibi’s Man in D.C., Still Spinning for the Boss

Author: Philip Gordon
Washington Post

Philip Gordon reviews Michael B. Oren’s book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide. Gordon remembers Oren as a smart, professional, and friendly colleague, but argues the book is a caricature, full of distortions, that will contribute to the deterioration of the very relationship the author purposes to cherish.

See more in Israel; Diplomacy and Statecraft

The Iran Endgame

Author: Philip Gordon
Politico

In an article for Politico, Philip Gordon discusses the difficult issues that remain to be resolved in the negotiations with Iran as the June 30 deadline approaches. He argues the United States and its partners must stand firm on key principles and spells out what they need – and do not need – for an agreement that serves U.S. national interests.

See more in Iran; United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft; Treaties and Agreements