IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM
September 15, 2015
Op-Ed, Foreign Policy
By Stephen M. Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs; Faculty Chair, International Security Program
"...[K]eeping Iran at arm's length (or worse) reduces U.S. diplomatic leverage and flexibility. As long as U.S. Middle East policy remains fixated on its 'special relationships' with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and to some extent Egypt, these states will continue to take U.S. support for granted and ignore U.S. preferences more often than we'd like. But if the United States had decent working relations with every state in the region — including Iran — it could work constructively with any or all of them."
September 4, 2015
Op-Ed, USA Today
By Ashton B. Carter, Former Co-Director, Preventive Defense Project, Harvard & Stanford Universities
Nineteen years ago, I was in Ukraine when the last nuclear warheads, orphaned during the Soviet Union’s breakup, rolled out of the country. As an assistant secretary of Defense at the time, I had worked with Washington colleagues and foreign counterparts to eliminate those nuclear weapons and thus one danger at the dawn of the post-Cold War world. Together — with bipartisan support in Congress led by Sens. Sam Nunn, a Democrat, and Richard Lugar, a Republican — we succeeded.
Today, the Iran deal provides the opportunity to address an even greater nuclear threat. Congress should support it because, once implemented, the deal will remove a critical source of risk and uncertainty in a vitally important but tumultuous region.
September 8, 2015
Op-Ed, Real Clear Politics
By William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
If Iran can deny inspectors access to military sites, it will create an enormous sanctuary for clandestine nuclear weapons work. The Parchin site alone encompasses hundreds of buildings spread over a dozen square miles. If military sites in Iran are off limits to IAEA inspection, the “strongest nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated” will include the largest loophole in arms control history.
September 7, 2015
"A takeover of Syria by the self-proclaimed Islamic State or Syrian rebel groups would also prove dangerous. Heinous as it is, Bashar al-Assad's regime still has many assets to lose in a confrontation with Israel and can thus be deterred. It will take time for non-state actors to develop similar assets."
September 6, 2015
By Nawaf Obaid, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
In his first visit to the United States since assuming the throne, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud met with US President Barack Obama to discuss various regional issues, foremost among them Iran’s destabilizing regional activities and the aftermath of the recent nuclear deal. The Saudi monarch was assured that the agreement prevents Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon through a robust inspections regime, and that there is a provision for a snapback of sanctions should the agreement be violated. But more broadly, the outcome of the meeting highlights and emphasizes Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts to counter and negate Iran’s influence in certain Arab countries.
September 6, 2015
Op-Ed, The Huffington Post
By Charles G. Cogan, Associate, International Security Program
"Senator Schumer stated that his was a very difficult decision, and one must respect his convictions. However, a number of Democratic leaders were disappointed by his action, which, due to his experience and influence, might have helped swing the vote the other way."
September 5, 2015
By Rami Khouri, Senior Fellow, Middle East Initiative
"Now that President Barack Obama has secured more than enough votes in the U.S. Senate to assure the implementation of the agreement with Iran on nuclear issues and sanctions, we can focus on the lessons learned from the process’ intense political dynamics. Three in particular stand out: U.S.-Israeli, U.S.-Saudi Arabian/Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and GCC-Iranian relations. U.S.-Israeli bilateral ties get the most attention these days, but all three are equally important, and turbulent in their own ways."
September 2, 2015
Op-Ed, The Hill
By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
Intelligent men and women of good will are lining up on both sides of the fateful choice Congress faces in September: whether to approve or reject the nuclear deal with Iran. Part of what’s going on is an unfortunate mixing together of two quite different questions, one looking backward and one looking forward. First, should the Obama administration and other major powers have gotten a better deal? Second, given the deal the negotiators did produce, whatever its warts, is it better for U.S. and world security to accept it or reject it and try to force Iran to agree to a better one?
September 2, 2015
Op-Ed, The New York Times
By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School
In this op-ed for the New York Times, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Nicholas Burns predicts that President Obama will have the votes to pass the Iran deal through Congress in what will be the most "important [vote] since the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003." The former U.S. Undersecretary of State maintains that President Obama should use coercive diplomacy to gain both bipartisan support at home and engender "an Obama pivot back to American leadership in the Middle East" that will stabilize the Middle East and protect American vital interests in the region.
August 24, 2015
Op-Ed, Real Clear Politics
It is past time to disclose and explain Iran’s secret deals with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Although the White House has downplayed the importance of these arrangements, calling them “side deals,” they raise questions that go to the heart of President Obama’s claim that the agreement the six leading powers struck with Iran will deny it a bomb for at least 10 to15 years. These “side” understandings are crucial to evaluating the potential effectiveness of the July agreement, although Secretary of State John Kerry claims not to have read them. A draft of one of them has leaked to the Associated Press, but it raises more questions than it answers.