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
CommentarySharper: U.S. Strategy in the Middle East
CNAS experts are sharpening the conversation surrounding the future of U.S. strategy in the Middle East....
By Kaleigh Thomas, Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryOn Iran, the Next Administration Must Break With the Past
The United States can address its discord with Iran and calibrate a smart and clear-eyed policy for the Middle East....
By Elisa Catalano Ewers, Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas
PodcastEpisode 118 | A Historic Day in Washington
Following the formal ceremony marking the normalisation of relations between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain at the White House, Richard Pater speaks to Ilan Goldenberg, the Direc...
By Ilan Goldenberg
PodcastLooking Back At 9/11, Nineteen Years Later
Today, we reflect back on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 19 years ago. Nearly 3000 people died when hijacked passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center and ...
By Ilan Goldenberg