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.
Kurds have become critical players amid domestic upheaval and political changes throughout the Middle East. Explore the history of the Kurdish people and why some Kurds may be on the verge of achieving their century-old quest for independence.
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.
As the deadline looms for the completion of a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, this issue guide provides background on the diplomatic progress and stumbling blocks, and possible consequences of an agreement.
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.
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.
In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Ray Takeyh argues that before the impending nuclear agreement with Iran places Tehran inches away from the bomb, the United States should insist on additional parameters to assure that the deal will be an advantageous one for the international community.
Two years since the Egyptian military deposed President Mohammed Morsi, human rights abuses are being committed at an unprecedented level, but the United States remains deeply invested in maintaining military ties with the country, says expert Michele Dunne.
On March 17, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won reelection, thanks in part to a desperate last-minute pledge to his right-wing base that the Palestinians would never get a state so long as he was in power. After the election, he tried to walk his comments back, but Palestinian observers weren’t buying it.
Nearly a century after it first emerged in Egypt, political Islam is redefining the Muslim world. Also called Islamism, this potent ideology holds that the billion-strong global Muslim community would be free and great if only it were pious—that is, if Muslims lived under state-enforced Islamic law, or sharia, as they have done for most of Islamic history.
A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (“Obama’s Libya Debacle,” March/April 2015), which asserts that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya was “an abject failure” that set free Libya’s vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.
Intelligence analysts have labored for years to identify the factors that make countries unstable. For those wanting to anticipate the next failed state, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory Treverton (“The Calm Before the Storm,” January/February 2015) offer a counterintuitive insight: “Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought—and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs.”
The use of social media and other Internet-enabled communications by the self-proclaimed Islamic State is pushing the United States and other democracies to react to the abuse of liberal freedoms by illiberal forces. CFR Visiting Fellow David P. Fidler outlines ways to counter the Islamic State's online onslaught through policies anchored in free speech, transparency, and accountability.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 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 »