IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM
September 22, 2015
By Olli Heinonen, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
On September 21, 2015, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano informed the Board of Governors that one day earlier he had visited a suspect site within the Parchin Military Complex in Iran. A few days prior to Director General Amano’s visit, as foreseen in an unofficial draft Iran/IAEA agreement, Iran, took environmental samples at the suspect location. Amano said in a public statement that access to the site was important in order to “clarify issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” However, the manner in which environmental samples were taken raises troubling precedents for both the IAEA’s investigation into Iran’s past work on nuclear weapons and the verifiability of the long term nuclear deal, the Joint Compreheansive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
September 15, 2015
Op-Ed, The Washington Post
By David Ignatius, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
The political circus surrounding the Iran nuclear deal shouldn’t obscure the fact that President Obama won an enormous victory in negotiating the agreement and mustering the necessary congressional votes to sustain it. It’s the most determined, strategic success of his presidency.
September 15, 2015
By Martin B. Malin, Executive Director, Project on Managing the Atom, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom and William H. Tobey, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
The “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”—the nuclear agreement between the P5+1 and Iran—will enter the implementation phase within months. US policy makers must now consider how best to strengthen the accord as implementation approaches, and in how best engage Iran as implementation proceeds. In this discussion, nonproliferation experts William H. Tobey and Matthew Bunn discuss how to strike an effective balance between cooperation and confrontation in dealing with Iran on the nuclear agreement and beyond. The discussion was moderated by Martin B. Malin and followed by Q&A with the audience.
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."