After a year of complaining about the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), U.S. President Donald Trump finally resorted to threats. In January, he gave Congress and Europe an ultimatum: if they did not fix what he considered the agreement’s shortcomings by May, he would kill the deal.
Trump’s chief objection is that certain restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program expire, or “sunset,” after 10–15 years. He has also raised concerns about Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and various Shiite militia groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and has decried the absence of measures to address Iran’s ballistic missile program. These latter concerns are broadly shared, but Trump seems to harbor unrealistic expectations that the nuclear agreement address all of Iran’s problematic activities. In the rough and tumble world of international diplomacy, it is impossible to get a perfect deal. And the JCPOA stands as a meaningful framework for nuclear arms control, offering a robust inspections regime that ensures compliance. More important, the JCPOA is far superior to the alternatives: allowing Iran, which had already reached the nuclear threshold when the deal was signed, to continue moving forward or else pursuing U.S. military action to set Iran back.
Read the full article in Foreign Affairs.
More from CNAS
CommentaryWhat Would a US-Led Global Technology Alliance Look Like?
In its early weeks, the Biden administration has wisely signaled that it plans to shift U.S. focus away from the Middle East and toward global competition with China. In addit...
By Ilan Goldenberg & Martijn Rasser
CommentarySharper: The Next 100 Days
As the administration marks its 100th day in office, what lies ahead?...
By Anna Pederson & Chris Estep
PodcastReturning To The Iran Nuclear Deal Is Essential For Biden's Foreign Policy Agenda
Ilan Goldenberg speaks with Franco Ordoñez about the importance of returning to the Iran nuclear deal for President Biden's foreign policy agenda. Listen to the full conversa...
By Ilan Goldenberg
VideoUS, Iran open indirect discussions to revive nuclear deal
Ilan Goldenberg joins France 24 to discuss possible revival of talks between U.S. and Iran and whether they can find common ground on the nuclear deal. Watch the full video f...
By Ilan Goldenberg