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.
The Iran nuclear deal and subsequent UN Security Council resolution do little to bind the United States legally, though policymakers would face political pressure against reinstating sanctions, says CFR's John Bellinger.
"Critics of the Iran nuclear deal say that Congress should reject it. But Philip Gordon, writing in the Washington Post, shows that the alternatives to a negotiated agreement in North Korea, Iraq, and Iran so far have not turned out to be a "better deal."
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.
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.
Talks over Iran’s nuclear program have concluded with a deal that will limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities in exchange for relief from economic and financial sanctions. Before the sanctions are lifted, Iran must show that it has implemented agreed-upon restrictions, explains CFR Senior Fellow Philip H. Gordon.
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.
In an article for The Weekly Standard, Elliott Abrams explains that the Obama administration’s hopes of rapprochement and a nuclear agreement with Iran led it to overlook the consequences of empowering the regime in Teheran at the expense of the Iranian people.
Reading the 150-page agreement with Iran takes less time than one might have anticipated, because it isn’t really a 150-page agreement. Why not? Because roughly 60 pages consist of lists — lists of all the sanctioned entities that will henceforth have sanctions lifted.
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.”
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.
In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ray Takeyh argues that the United States has moved from stopping Iran's nuclear activities to regulating its growth in a landmark accord that has upended fifty years of U.S. non-proliferation policy.
A bigger problem has received much less attention: the risk of what will happen if Iran doescomply 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
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.
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.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »