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The Middle East
How to Improve the Iran Nuclear Deal

The JCPOA remains the best among several bad options for making sure Iran never crosses the nuclear threshold.

Published on: October 3, 2017
Chuck Freilich, a former deputy Israeli national security director, is a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center and the author of the forthcoming book Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change (Oxford Press, March 2018).
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  • Shawn

    The neo cons and Zionist fanatics need to let go of this silly idea. It’s simply not going to happen. Europe, Russia and China are fully committed to the deal and are also completely against changing any of its details, even in the slightest. Iran has shown time and time again, according to the UN and IAEA, that it is fully complying with the terms of the deal as they stand. If the US leaves the deal, that will only isolate America from its allies, since the other members of the deal have already stated that they will remain with the deal even if the US leaves. This is really a no win situation for the US. The mullahs have a checkmate on Trump, whether he likes it or not. Currently this deal is supporting 20,000 well paying jobs at Boeing worth 20-50 billion dollars. Leaving the deal would mean that those jobs and that money would most likely end up going to a joint Russian/Chinese consortium. Everything aside, leaving the deal would also make America look like a very unreliable partner when it comes to international agreements.

  • Kevin

    “would strengthen Iranian hardliners” – for thirty plus years we have been told not to do anything effective because it would strengthen the hardliners. There are no moderates anywhere near power in Iran and concern over weakening them have led to decades of disastrous policy.

  • Angel Martin

    “Like all compromise agreements, the [ Munich Agreement ] has significant flaws, but has so far proven effective. Instead of pursuing new options, which are no more than detours on the path back to a future diplomatic deal, we should focus on ensuring strict adherence to the existing one, while redressing its flaws.”

  • Kenneth Currie

    So, just how does a self-limiting and time-limited agreement remain “the best among several bad options for making sure Iran never crosses the nuclear threshold?”

  • FriendlyGoat

    We know enough about religion to question the safety of a Christian nation and a Jewish nation long in possession of nuclear weapons if Islamic nations get them too. But we don’t know enough about religion or religious psychology to effect a regime change in Iran (or in Sunni-land either for that matter).

  • adk
  • Psalms13626

    Both Trump and Netanyahu derangement syndromes. No thanks. Sell your crazy somewhere else, we are all full up here.

  • Tom

    ” The United States and Israel, and even more importantly the United States and the European co-signatories to the deal, must thus reach agreement on those Iranian actions that would be held to constitute violations of the deal and the corrective measures to be adopted…In a similar vein, action by the United States and European co-signatories, in at least some collaboration with Russia and China, the other co-signatories, is necessary to address some specific areas of ambiguity in the agreement.”

    While we’re mocking certain things as being fantasies, should we perhaps discuss these two little gems?

    • D4x

      Coherent explanation: http://www.weeklystandard.com/getting-to-no/article/2009955
      “…The requirement that the president certify Iran’s compliance with the deal every 90 days isn’t a provision of the JCPOA—it’s part of U.S. law. It’s contained in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, known as Corker-Cardin
      after the two senators who authored it. When the Obama administration denied the Senate the opportunity to ratify or reject the Iran deal [JCPOA] as a treaty, Congress passed Corker-Cardin as part of its assent to the
      sanctions relief called for in the deal.

      Decertifying it, as administration officials point out, does
      not kill the deal. But it does place the onus on Congress to determine a
      legislative path—to impose new non-nuclear sanctions, to amend the
      Corker-Cardin law, or to pass a new bill—that would guide how the U.S.
      government will proceed on the deal.

      Under the terms of Corker-Cardin, the president must certify
      four things to Congress every 90 days: that Iran is complying with the JCPOA’s
      terms, that Iran is not in “material breach” of the agreement, that Iran is not
      materially advancing its nuclear program, and that the sanctions relief
      provided for in the deal remains in the national security interest of the
      United States.

      It is this final benchmark the administration is expected to cite if it decertifies…”

  • D4x

    Frelich makes some good points in acknowledging President Trump’s strategy with Iran, except he is confused about the “President who is monumentally unsuited for high office, whose personality mixes unbridled ambition with deep-seated insecurity,” was the one who negotiated the JCPOA with Persia posing as Iran – you know, the president who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, announced 9 October 2009, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”.
    SecState John Kerry and Wendy Sherman, lead negotiator for the United States in the agreement reached with Iran on July 14, 2015 in Vienna toast each other on July 14, 2015
    “On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), the European Union (EU), and Iran reached a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.”

    “…part of the U.S. team that negotiated with North Korea in the 1990s, …Wendy Sherman was one of Albright’s top aides in 1999 and 2000 when Washington and Pyongyang engaged in marathon talks designed to limit the development and export of North Korean long-range missiles in exchange for American financial aid and the delivery of several long-promised civilian nuclear reactors.”
    “Sherman’s March: Meet the social worker turned nuclear negotiator who’s trying to keep Iran from getting the bomb.” Oct. 15, 2013 By Yochi Dreazen http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/10/15/shermans-march/

    Biographical note? on former presidential candidate and former Secretary of State John F Kerry, with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Jan 2014, something about Syria and Idaho…Photo: Reuters

    “Obama hands scramble to save Iran deal: Democratic insiders try to stop Trump from risking ‘war,’ with former president’s tacit blessing. … more than 80 nuclear nonproliferation experts released a statement urging Trump not to abandon the agreement. The experts note that international inspectors have repeatedly verified that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal. …” By NAHAL TOOSI 09/15/2017 03:03 PM EDT http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/15/obama-aides-iran-nuclear-deal-242777

    Sept. 21, 2017 (after President Trump’s bilaterals with Israeli PM Netanyahu and France’s President Macron on Sept. 18, 2017, where IRAN was the main topic)
    #11.Q&A: Iran: HALEY:“But the Iran Deal and U.S. law are two different things.
    Q: Are you saying that he could decertify without specifically withdrawing from the deal?
    AMBASSADOR HALEY: That’s right. I mean, that’s just the option that he has and
    that’s the Corker-Cardin law that came into effect that allowed that to happen.”
    [UNSC Res] 2331, the resolution that was in place, what we saw was it basically wrapped in with the nuclear deal; it
    said if Iran did any of these things, it would be in violation. And since then, the Secretary General has
    come out with a report that said they have violated all of those things —
    their support for terrorism, their arms smuggling, the idea that they continue
    to do ballistic missile testing — and they need to be called out for that.”
    Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/09/21/press-briefing-us-ambassador-un-nikki-haley
    [start] 4:37 P.M. EDT Twenty-two minutes, nineteen Q&A
    September 21, 2017 Press Briefing by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley
    New York Hilton Midtown – Rhinelander Gallery South New York, New York

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