March 27, 2015

Gaming the Iran Negotiations: Buying Time Versus Facing Failure

By Ilan Goldenberg

At the Iran nuclear negotiations in Switzerland, the date widely called a deadline -- March 31 -- is written in pencil, not carved in stone.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are working under self-imposed pressure to conclude a framework by then. If they reach some agreement, that will buy them till June 30 -- the actual deadline -- to conclude a comprehensive accord intended to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state.

Most officials say they expect Iran and six world powers to reach some understanding in the coming days and then begin the make-or-break detail work.

 But what if they don’t? Both sides have become so invested in reaching a deal by the end of June that failure could have dire consequences.

The current interim accord between Iran and six world powers would likely end with Congress stepping up the U.S. sanctions against Iran. A struggle to hold together the international coalition supporting United Nations and European Union sanctions would ensue. Analysts say Iran might return to its nuclear program, including enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.

Read the full article at Bloomberg.

  • Ilan Goldenberg

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Ilan Goldenberg is Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is a foreign policy and defense expert with ext...