For over a decade, the sensitive nuclear fuel-cycle activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran have been at the center of international concerns about the further spread of nuclear weapons.
After years of on-and-off international diplomatic efforts, on July 14, negotiators from the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran secured a comprehensive nuclear agreement—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—designed to verifiably block Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons development and guard against a clandestine weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief.
This agreement follows over 20 months of diplomatic efforts and intense negotiations involving seven nations, including longtime adversaries.
The Arms Control Association has intensively followed Iran's program and the diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. In consultation with fellow experts and government officials on both sides of the negotiating table, our research staff has worked to identify practical, technical, and policy solutions for the negotiators in order to help them conclude a sound, sustainable, verifiable, win-win agreement.
Our conclusion is that the JCPOA, combined with the associated UN Security Council resolution and an IAEA-Iran “roadmap,” is a strong and effective formula that can verifiably block Iran's potential uranium and plutonium pathways to nuclear weapons and guard against a secret weapons program for more than a generation.
An increasing number of nonproliferation and security experts also share the view that the agreement is a net-plus for nuclear nonproliferation and for U.S., international, and regional security.
Congress has until September 17, 2015 to review this complex agreement and decide whether it should approve or disapprove the deal. We believe that each and every member needs to take a serious look at this agreement, get the answers to their questions, and consider the benefits and the unpleasant alternatives.
Implementation of the JCPOA in the coming years will also be vital to the success of the agreement—and this requires a solid understanding of the agreement and how it is designed to work.
Good policy depends on good information. We have written and published this revised edition of our “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle” briefing book to help improve public and policymaker understanding of this complex agreement with far-reaching consequences for the nuclear nonproliferation regime and for international peace and security.
—Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director,
Arms Control Association, August 2015