On the Iran Nuclear Agreement and its Consequences

Author: Richard N. Haass

In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, CFR President Richard N. Haass analyses the nuclear deal with Iran and suggests that any vote by Congress to approve the pact should be linked to legislation or a White House statement that makes clear what the United States would do if there were Iranian noncompliance, what would be intolerable in the way of Iran's long-term nuclear growth, and what the U.S. was prepared to do to counter Iranian threats to U.S. interests and friends in the region.

See more in Iran; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament


A Suggestion for Obama’s American University Speech About Iran Deal

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

 A major concern of the Iran nuclear deal is that it only imposes constraints for 10 years. After that, the “breakout time” needed for Iran to build a bomb may shrink again. President Obama should say that if Iran expands its program to the full extent allowed by the agreement, the United States will consider it a threat to our security and that of our allies. The president should also add that if the threat begins to grow again, Washington is prepared to renounce the agreement—reimposing sanctions, reviewing military options, and urging other states to do the same.

See more in Iran; United States; Treaties and Agreements; Presidents and Chiefs of State


Iran, Sanctions, and the Illusion of a Better Bargain

Author: Miles Kahler

At this point in time, given the current Iranian leadership, the state of Iranian public opinion, and Iranian economic conditions, relying on unilateral economic leverage to obtain a better deal is an illusion, argues Miles Kahler. More likely it would drive Iran further in the direction of North Korea—an unrestrained nuclear program and an economically isolated, unreformed regime. 

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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.

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Iran's Nuclear Deal: Three Things to Know

Speaker: Philip Gordon

Iran will limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief under an agreement it reached with major powers. However, the U.S. Congress must approve the deal and Iran must take specific steps to restrict its nuclear program before the agreement can be implemented, explains CFR’s Philip Gordon.

See more in Iran; Politics and Strategy


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

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.”

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Media Call: Iran Nuclear Agreement

Speaker: Philip Gordon
Presider: Deborah Susan Amos

Iran and six nations led by the United States reached a historic agreement on July 14, 2015, that will limit Tehran's nuclear capacity for more than a decade in return for lifting international economic sanctions. Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Philip Gordon assesses the deal's implications for U.S.-Iran relations and Iran's role in the international community.

See more in Iran; United States; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Nuclear Energy


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

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Primary Sources

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran's Nuclear Program

In July 2015, foreign ministers from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (E3/EU+3) met with the foreign minister of Iran in Vienna to negotiate the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), developed in April 2015. On July 14, the foreign ministers agreed to the plan, which involves limitations on Iran’s nuclear program and lifting of some United Nations Security Council and other multilateral and national sanctions on Iran related to its nuclear program. The JCPOA includes a main text and annexes on nuclear, sanctions, civil nuclear energy cooperation, a joint commission, and implementation.

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