FPI Resources on the Nuclear Deal with Iran

July 30, 2015

U.S. lawmakers are carefully examining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) ahead of a September vote to approve or disapprove the agreement.  As both the House and Senate hold hearings with administration officials and outside experts, the President and senior policymakers are meeting with Congressmen and Senators to persuade any uncommitted members.

The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) believes the following resources will be helpful for lawmakers and their staffs as they continue to examine the deal’s provisions and consequences.


FPI Fact Sheet: The Iranian Nuclear Deal – FPI Policy Director David Adesnik and Senior Policy Analyst Tzvi Kahn – Foreign Policy Initiative – July 21, 2015

“This FPI Fact Sheet provides a basic outline of the key provisions of the deal in order to help policymakers understand the respective obligations of its signatories.”

Alternatives to a Bad Deal

Why War Isn’t Inevitable if Congress Rejects the Iran Nuclear Deal – Aaron David Miller – Wall Street Journal – July 24, 2015

“Last week Secretary of State John Kerry said bluntly about the Iran deal: “This is a choice between a diplomatic solution and war.” But is that really the case? Much of the Obama administration’s efforts to sell this accord have involved shackling the public and congressional debate with this binary choice and the horrific consequences should Congress reject the accord and overturn a presidential veto.

If the Iran Deal Fails… – Robert Satloff – Politico – July 26, 2015

“I have not yet decided whether the costs of the Iran nuclear agreement are worth its advantages. But I have reached one conclusion–President Obama’s argument that ‘the alternative to this agreement is war’ is wrong. Let us assume that Congress overrides the president’s veto of a resolution disapproving the deal. What happens the day after?”

Inspections & Snapback

Testimony – Olli Heinonen – House Financial Services Committee – July 22, 2015

“It is clear that a facility of sizable scale cannot simply be erased in three weeks without leaving traces. But the likely scenarios involved here would be small scale, which could be critical in the weapons manufacturing process such as the manufacturing of uranium components for a nuclear weapon…Some of the past concealment events carried out by Iran in 2003 left no traces to be detected through environmental sampling…A 24-day adjudicated timeline reduces detection probabilities exactly where the system is weakest: detecting undeclared facilities and materials.”

Verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – Institute for Science and International Security – July 28, 2015

“The verification provisions have weaknesses, however, and some must be remediated or compensated for if the agreement is to be verifiable.  Moreover, without stringent long-term limits on Iran’s sensitive nuclear programs, such as uranium enrichment activities, these verification conditions, some of which are also of limited duration, are unlikely to be sufficient.”

Possible Military Dimensions (PMD)

The Iranian Nuclear-Inspection Charade – William Tobey – Wall Street Journal – July 15, 2015

“A successful Iran nuclear agreement would have required far more than anywhere, anytime inspections, let alone the delayed, managed access with a 24-day duration provided under the Iran nuclear deal that President Obama hailed on Tuesday. What was essential is now conspicuously missing: Tehran’s submission of a complete and correct nuclear declaration, and the regime’s cooperation with IAEA efforts to verify it. Anything short of that is an illusion.”

Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) – Institute for Science and International Security – July 21, 2015

“The United States appears to be fully within its commitments and obligations under the JCPOA to refuse to end sanctions on Implementation Day if Iran does not address the IAEA’s PMD concerns.  This position should be stated clearly, often, and publicly, and it should encourage similar policies by its European partners.”

Sanctions Relief & Terror Financing

It Just Got Easier for Iran to Fund Terrorism – Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz – Foreign Policy – July 17, 2015

“Though the windfall of cash will certainly strengthen its position, the real prize for Iran was regaining access to a little-known, but ubiquitous banking system that has been off-limits to the country since March 2012.”

Flood of Cash to Iran Dwarfs Marshall Plan – Ilan Berman – USA Today – July 28, 2015

“This may sound like an exaggeration, but it most assuredly is not…The sum is so large as to be difficult to put it in context. It amounts to roughly a quarter of Iran’s annual gross domestic product, which totaled $415 billion in 2014. A similar windfall for the United States would be in the trillions. In historical terms, it also matches or exceeds America’s entire post-World War II plan for the reconstruction of Europe.”

Will the Deal Work?

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action “Kicks the Can Down the Road” – Institute for Science and International Security – July 22, 2015

“Because the agreement does not prohibit Iran from building a large uranium enrichment capability and even a reprocessing, or a plutonium separation, capability, the agreement essentially delays the day when Iran reestablishes a nuclear weapons capability and possibly builds nuclear weapons.”

Deal Brings Iran Closer to Obtaining Nuclear Weapons Capability – Michael Makovsky – The Weekly Standard – July 24, 2015

“There are three main elements of a nuclear weapon—the fissile material, explosive device, and delivery vehicle. Credibly preventing a nuclear Iran should mean shutting down any progress, if not outright eliminating the possibility of progress, in all three of these areas. The JCPOA claims to address the first by limiting uranium enrichment and plutonium production and the second by restricting weaponization research. But it does nothing to keep Iran from building the ballistic missiles that could accurately deliver a nuclear warhead anywhere in the Middle East, Europe, or even the United States.”

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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