July 14, 2014

CNAS Expert: Iran Economic Relief Crucial for Credibility of a Deal

By Elizabeth Rosenberg

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2014 - The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released "Removing the Barriers: Prospects for Sanctions Relief Under a Final Nuclear Deal with Iran" today. Author Elizabeth Rosenberg, CNAS Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Environment and Security Program, argues that economic relief offered through the lifting of sanctions under a potential, final nuclear deal must be credible for the United States and its allies to maintain leverage with Iran and sustain a final nuclear agreement. A reentry of international business into Iran under a deal will be neither swift nor simple and international negotiators and Iran will face a variety of challenges as they ensure that the relief on paper is delivered in practice. As Rosenberg explains, these challenges range from extreme caution in the private sector about violating multilateral sanctions on Iran to Iran’s challenging business environment. Delving into the mechanics of removing multilateral sanctions on Iran, Rosenberg evaluates the role of the U.S. Congress and the private sector in providing sanctions relief.
Rosenberg suggests that a successful nuclear deal will require incremental concessions by Iran on its nuclear program in exchange for incremental sanctions relief by the international community. Rosenberg outlines what economic relief should entail and the steps that the U.S. administration and Congress must take to clarify and enforce what will be, and will not be, open for business in Iran under a final nuclear deal. Rosenberg also provides recommendations for U.S. lawmakers on how to navigate the complicated web of sanctions on Iran and deliver credible relief in exchange for Iranian nuclear concessions under a final agreement.
In the policy brief, Rosenberg addresses the following key questions on sanctions relief for Iran in a potential nuclear deal:

  • What multilateral sanctions are eligible for removal, and how will they be rolled back?
  • What role does Congress play in the negotiations and the future of sanctions policy towards Iran?
  • How should the U.S. administration work with the private sector considering new Iran business after years of Iran’s exclusion from the international financial system and trade?

Download a copy of “Removing the Barriers: Prospects
for Sanctions Relief Under a Final Nuclear Deal with Iran”

In the case that nuclear negotiations fail, the U.S. administration should work with Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran. Although it would be harmful to diplomacy for Congress to threaten or pass new sanctions if a nuclear deal appears possible, U.S. policymakers should be prepared to do so if talks collapse.


  • Elizabeth Rosenberg

    Former Senior Fellow and Director, Energy, Economics and Security Program

    Elizabeth Rosenberg is a former Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. In this capacity, she publ...