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Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty

The Pope and Nuclear Disarmament: Background Resources Available



During his trip to the United States, Pope Francis may continue to call for the United States to take further steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons.


For Immediate Release: September 22, 2015

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext. 107; Kelsey Davenport, director of nonproliferation policy, 202-463-8270 ext. 102; Timothy Farnsworth, communications director, 202-463-8270 ext. 110.

(Washington, D.C.)—Under the papacy of Francis, the Catholic Church is renewing and reinvigorating its call for nuclear disarmament. In a pivotal statement at the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons in December 2014, Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, the Vatican’s UN ambassador in Geneva, said the “reliance on a strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world,” and called for all countries to review deterrence as a “stable basis for peace.”

At the 59th meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency Conference last week, the Vatican said that “nuclear deterrence can hardly be the basis for peaceful coexistence among peoples and states in the 21st century.” The statement, issued by Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher also called for a "real efforts toward facilitating the entry into force of the CTBT [Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty]" and endorsed the July 14 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers saying it ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

During his trip to the United States he will address Congress on Sept. 24 and the UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 25. Pope Francis may continue to call for the United States to take further steps toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

For more information on the Catholic Church’s views on nuclear weapons, see the following resources.


The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the threats posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Posted: September 22, 2015

Responsible Steps to Build on the Nonproliferation Value of the JCPOA



By blocking Iran’s nuclear weapons pathways, the JCPOA should reduce the incentive of other states in the region to pursue their own nuclear fuel-making programs. 


Volume 7, Issue 12, September 21, 2015

On Sept. 17, the 60-day period for congressional review of the nuclear agreement that the United States and its international negotiating partners reached with Iran came to an end without Congress passing legislation preventing President Barack Obama from implementing the deal.

The agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), promises to severely curtail Iran’s nuclear program and stop it well short of nuclear weapons for a generation or more. The deal puts in place an unprecedented, multilayered verification and monitoring regime, and includes provisions to help ensure compliance with the restrictions established by the agreement.

If successfully implemented, the JCPOA will be a net plus for nonproliferation and will enhance U.S. and regional security. Implementation of the JCPOA reinforces the rules, norms, and procedures that make up the global nuclear nonproliferation regime.

By blocking Iran’s nuclear weapons pathways, the JCPOA should reduce the incentive of other states in the region to pursue their own nuclear fuel-making programs. The JCPOA also provides an opportunity to strengthen nonproliferation in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, reports indicate that some members of Congress are contemplating counterproductive legislative proposals that would re-interpret the terms of the JCPOA and make additional demands of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that could complicate or even undermine implementation.

A more productive approach would be to provide the IAEA with the financial support necessary to carry out its additional monitoring and verification responsibilities, and to work with the Executive Branch to augment the JCPOA by pursuing policies designed to strengthen the barriers against further nuclear and missile proliferation in the region and around the world. 

As Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) put it in a September 17 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington: “If the United States leads these changes over the next five years, then in 15 years Iran will leave one set of restraints – the JCPOA—and enter another – the parameters of a world with…a bolstered NPT [nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty].”

The JCPOA contains several innovative provisions that go beyond the requirements of the NPT and standard IAEA safeguards. These measures could be applied for a longer period of time in Iran if pursued on a regional basis, and there are additional nonproliferation commitments that would bolster the JCPOA in the years ahead.

Several of these measures could help address concerns about Iran’s potential nuclear capabilities in the post-year 15 period of the agreement when many of the restrictions on uranium-enrichment capacity expire.

Below is set of illustrative potential strategies and policy solutions that would build upon the Iran nuclear deal and further reinforce proliferation barriers vis-à-vis Iran, as well as other states in the greater Middle East.

Increase IAEA Resources and Capacity. The administration and Congress must work together to provide the IAEA with the additional financial resources (approximately $10-15 million per year) it will need to carry out its additional inspection and safeguards responsibilities vis-à-vis Iran under the JCPOA.

Legislation that hampers the IAEA’s ability to carry out its work, or requires the president to compromise the confidentiality of the IAEA investigations in Iran, not only risks the success of the JCPOA, but could also erode confidence in the IAEA globally. Requiring the president to disclose to Congress information about the IAEA’s confidential methods risks the independence of the agency.

Expand Application of the Additional Protocol. The additional protocol is a voluntary measure that Iran has agreed to implement and ratify under the terms of the JCPOA. In addition, the JCPOA sets a time limit regarding Iran's response to and cooperation with an IAEA request for access to a site or facility of concern.

U.S. policy should be focused on region-wide adoption of and adherence to IAEA additional protocols. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria are among the states that have not concluded an additional protocol agreement with the IAEA.

One approach to expand the application of the additional protocol would be to update Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, which sets the terms for U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries to prevent the misuse of civilian nuclear technology and assistance. Currently Section 123 of the act does not require that a cooperating state have an additional protocol in place with the IAEA. Some members of Congress have introduced legislation to update Section 123 and could pursue a new effort, which would likely win bipartisan support. 

Another strategy would be for the United States and other like-minded members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to agree not to engage in any civilian nuclear cooperation with a state in the Middle East region unless it has agreed to implement and ratify an additional protocol and adopt modified Code 3.1 notification requirements relating to its IAEA safeguards agreement.

Presently, the NSG only has a voluntary policy (adopted in 2011) not to transfer the technology and equipment (enrichment and reprocessing technology) needed to produce weapons-usable nuclear material to new states, especially those states in regions of proliferation concern.

Build a Region-Wide HEU and Plutonium Production Ban. A key goal of the United States and other nuclear technology suppliers should be to strongly discourage any additional states in the region from acquiring uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing technology and to ensure that those that do have such technologies only produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) commensurate with their “practical needs.”

In the JCPOA, Iran agreed not to enrich uranium beyond 3.67% U-235 for a period of at least 15 years. Iran has indicated a willingness to extend that restriction beyond 15 years, if other countries in the region abide by a similar restriction. A goal of U.S. policy should be to extend Iran’s commitment indefinitely by pursing a region-wide commitment to limiting uranium enrichment to less than 5% U-235.

Iran also committed not to separate plutonium from spent fuel in its reactors for 15 years and has stated that it has no intention to do so at any point in the future. A similar region-wide ban on reprocessing and norm in support of shipping out spent fuel should also be encouraged.

Currently Iran and Israel are the only states in the region with uranium-enrichment technology and Israel is the only country in the region to have produced weapons-grade plutonium. Given that Israel has a strategic advantage having already produced plutonium for it undeclared weapons program and because its Dimona production reactor is near the end of its lifespan, Israel might also be encouraged to voluntarily adopt a region-wide policy banning the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and weapons-grade plutonium.

A related strategy would be to accelerate work to phase out the use of reactor fuel greater than 5% U-235 for any purposes by any country in the region and to provide international technical support to convert all reactors to LEU fuel. Six countries in the Middle East currently have research reactors, with a total of seven reactors fueled by uranium enriched to 20% or higher. This region-wide phase-out strategy would be consistent with ongoing U.S. efforts to phase out the use of HEU for civilian nuclear research and naval propulsion reactors worldwide. 

If additional countries choose to pursue enrichment in the Middle East region or elsewhere, they should also be subjected to the same continuous IAEA monitoring at key nuclear facilities that Iran is subject to under the JCPOA. Requiring more stringent monitoring and transparency should be included the region-wide limitation on enrichment to reactor-grade levels.

Encourage Lifetime Fuel Supply and Fuel Take-Back Guarantees. Another related longer-term strategy should be to ensure that Iran has the absolute minimum “practical need” for low-enriched uranium production. Iran currently has one operating light-water reactor for electricity production and has a preliminary agreement with Russia for several more. Russia supplies the Bushehr-1 reactor with fuel and will take back spent fuel from the reactor. The current supply contract for Bushehr-1 can be extended beyond 2021—and even further if necessary. According to preliminary Iran-Russian plans, any future Russian-built units at the site will be supplied by Russia for the lifetime of the reactors and all spent fuel will be returned to Russia.

Under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran will domestically fuel the Arak reactor, once the reactor is modified and Iran is able to produce fuel assemblies for the reactor. Iran’s enrichment capacity under the first 10 years of the deal—5,060 IR-1 centrifuges—is more than enough to provide fuel for the reactor on an annual basis.

To help negate Iran’s justification for increasing its domestic enrichment capacity beyond the 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges established through the JCPOA for 13 years, any country that enters into a contract with Iran to supply additional power reactors could provide fuel supply guarantees for the lifespan of the reactor, and arrangements to take back the spent fuel so as to deny Iran access to the separated plutonium in the spent fuel.

The United States should also encourage lifetime supply arrangements for any country in the region seeking nuclear reactors.

This approach, combined with a region-wide LEU limitation, would be more likely to dissuade Iran from increasing its uranium-enrichment capacity and/or enrichment levels after years 13-15 of the JCPOA than any “sense of Congress” demand from U.S. legislators that Iran should not be allowed to adjust its uranium-enrichment capacity after years 13-15 of the JCPOA because U.S. legislators do not believe Iran has an “inherent right” to enrich uranium.

Secure Region-wide Agreement to Forego Experiments That May Be Used for Designing Nuclear Weapons. In Annex I, Section T of the JCPOA, Iran agreed to a ban on all such experiments even though some ostensibly have civilian applications. By encouraging other states in the region and elsewhere to voluntarily declare and/or reach a Memorandum of Understanding with the IAEA that such experiments, if conducted, would constitute a violation of their safeguards agreements, confidence in the NPT would be strengthened.

Region-Wide Adherence to the CTBT. A principal element of U.S. nonproliferation policy has been to prevent nuclear testing by any state, particularly because nuclear test explosions enable emerging nuclear weapon states to proof test a warhead design and build smaller, lighter warheads for delivery on ballistic missiles. The United States has not conducted a nuclear test explosion since September 1992 and is a signatory to the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). All of the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and European Union states have ratified the CTBT, except for the United States and China.

Currently, there are three states in the Middle East—Egypt, Iran and Israel—that must ratify the CTBT to facilitate its entry into force.

Senior Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who signed the CTBT in 1996, have recently expressed their support for the treaty.

In 1999, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif, then Iran’s deputy foreign minister, spoke in support of the CTBT and endorsed a UN conference statement calling for cooperation aimed at bringing the treaty into effect.

In a Sept. 12 interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization, which is based in Vienna, said if Iran doesn’t ratify the CTBT, “it will leave room for the doubt that people have put in this deal and the good intentions of Iran.”

To reinforce Iran’s commitment to a non-nuclear weapons future and increase security and stability in the region, the United States and our allies should also actively encourage all states in the Middle East region that have not signed/ratified the CTBT (including Saudi Arabia) to do so and to fully support the CTBT’s international monitoring system, as well the development of its on-site inspection capabilities that will be available after the treaty enters into force.

Reinforce Legal Obligations In the Event of NPT Withdrawal. If a state decides to leave the NPT and pursue nuclear weapons, there should be tough penalties. One approach is to establish that even if a state decides to exercise its right under the “supreme national interest” clause of the NPT that state remains obligated not to use any of the nuclear material or technology under safeguards, or that has been supplied by other states, for weapons purposes. There have been numerous proposals along these lines that have not been adopted in the context of the NPT or mandated by the UN Security Council.

Regional Ballistic Missile Restraint Measures. Iran has perhaps the largest short- and medium-range ballistic missile arsenal in the region, but there are other states with similar capabilities and ambitions. It should be an objective of U.S. policy to develop a region-wide moratorium on research, development, and flight-testing of medium-range and long-range ballistic missiles or cruise missiles, particularly those capable of lifting WMD payloads. The United States should also work with its partners in the Missile Technology Control Regime to strengthen and reinforce the norms against transferring technologies for missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

Through the years, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have put forward important ideas to strengthen the global nuclear nonproliferation system, some of which have substantially contributed to U.S. national policy.

In 1978, Congress came together to strengthen the standards for U.S. civil nuclear cooperation as first established under the 1954 Atomic Energy Act.

In 1991, Senators Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) put forward the “Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991,” which authorized $400 million to create U.S.-led programs assist the countries of the former Soviet Union secure and eliminate nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and other weapons. This effort became known as the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program, which has successfully liquidated thousands of Cold War-era Soviet weapons.

Another example was S. 1977, “The Nuclear Weapons Threat Reduction Act” of 2007, introduced by then Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.). It became the blueprint for much of the Obama administration’s first-term nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament policies.

Given the ongoing proliferation threat posed by North Korea, the increasing nuclear arsenals in Indian and Pakistan, and the need to further strengthen proliferation barriers in the Middle East region, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle should consider how they can work together with President Obama and his successor to bolster U.S. and global nuclear weapons risk reduction strategies.



The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 

Country Resources:

Posted: September 21, 2015

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, September 17

Congressional Review Period Ends The U.S. Congress failed to pass a resolution of disapproval that would block the Obama administration’s ability to implement its commitments under the July 14 nuclear deal with Iran. The sixty-day period for congressional review expired today, Sept, 17, and without the passage of resolution of disapproval, the Obama administration will be able to waive sanctions as required under the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.) A vote earlier today to end debate and move to vote on a resolution of disapproval failed to pass the 60 vote...

The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Deal Alert, September 11

Measure to Disapprove Iran Deal Blocked in Senate In a historic vote, the Senate failed to end debate and move to vote on a resolution of disapproval of the nuclear deal with Iran – moving the United States and its negotiating partners a step closer to adoption of the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Yesterday’s vote to end debate did not reach the necessary 60 vote threshold, with 58 senators voting in favor and 42 voting against. Four Democrats, Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Joe Manchin, (W. Va.), and Ben Cardin (Md.) joined the 54 Republicans...

Why the Iran Nuclear Deal is a Win for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Security



Between now and Sept. 17, the U.S. Congress will face...


A Discussion on the Impact and Next Steps with the Deputy Assistant to the President/ National Security Advisor to the VP

Tuesday, September 8, 2015
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 

The U.S. Congress began debate on a resolution on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: the July 14 agreement between the United States, other world powers, and Iran will effectively and verifiably block all of Iran’s potential pathways to developing nuclear weapons.

This is one of most important national security decisions that members of Congress have confronted in more than a decade.

The agreement has the support of 75 former members of Congress, a growing number of national security leaders, the vast majority of nuclear nonproliferation experts, retired generals and admirals, top scientific leaders, 100 former ambassadors, and the UN Security Council, among others.

Please join us at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for a discussion of the impact of the agreement and the potential consequences of a rejection of the deal by the U.S. Congress.

The keynote speech will begin at 9 a.m. and will be delivered by:

  • Colin Kahl, Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President.

At 10 a.m., we will pause our program as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) separately delivers remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the Iran nuclear deal and the future of U.S. foreign policy in the region. This event will be held in a separate event space at Carnegie, and attendees of the Arms Control Association event can view Senator Reid’s speech from the Choate room via video monitor.

Following the Reid address, our program will resume at approximately 11 a.m. with a panel consisting of:

  • Ellie Geranmayeh, Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations;
  • George Perkovich, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
  • Kelsey Davenport, Director for Nonproliferation Policy, Arms Control Association; and
  • Daryl G. Kimballmoderator, Executive Director, Arms Control Association.

The following is an unedited transcript.

            KIMBALL:  All right, good morning, everyone, and welcome to today's Arms Control Association briefing on why the Iran nuclear deal is a win for nuclear nonproliferation and international security. 

            My name is Daryl Kimball, I'm the executive director of the independent, nonpartisan Arms Control Association, and we welcome you here to the Carnegie Endowment on this Tuesday morning after Labor Day, and we're ready to get to work. 

             This afternoon, the U.S. Congress is going to begin debate on a resolution on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the July, 2014 agreement between the United States, other world powers, and Iran, that we believe will effectively and verifiably block all of Iran's pathways to nuclear weapons. 

            This agreement has the support of 75 former members of Congress, a growing number of national security leaders, the vast majority of nuclear nonproliferation experts, retired generals and admirals, top scientific leaders, 100 former ambassadors, the U.N. Security Council, and, by the way, the American public, among others. 

            So the vast majority of those members of Congress who did take the time to review this very complex 159-page document along with the related U.N. Security Council resolution and the associated IAEA and Iran work plan, have, for the most part, come out in favor of the agreement.  

            And we at the Arms Control Association are increasingly confident that, at the end of the process, there will be enough votes to allow the implementation of this multifaceted, multi-year, multilateral agreement. 

            And one key reason is because it is a major plus for nonproliferation and international security, and because its rejection would turn this major diplomatic success into a geopolitical disaster.  

            So the theme of this morning's address with Colin Kahl, who is deputy assistant to the president and national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, is going to be about the implications of the deal, the benefits, and what would happen if it were to be rejected.  

            And so this address by Colin, followed by your questions, will end at about 9:45, at which point we're going to take a halftime break, as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid speaks upstairs.  You'll be able to view his address here if you want to grab an extra cup of coffee and watch, and then we will resume at 11:00 with an expert panel discussion that will go for about an hour.  

            So with that, Colin, we're very pleased to have you here once again.  This is the second time you've spoken before an Arms Control Association audience on this topic, and I think it's fair to say your remarks last time were very persuasive, because just after that, there was increasing support, so we welcome you back here. 

            Thanks for being with us.  

            KAHL:  Morning, everybody.  Thanks, Daryl.  Thanks to the Arms Control Association for continuing to do all that you do every day to educate people about this deal and a host of other important arms control issues.  

            You know, at the -- when you get on a airline, sometimes the pilot comes on and reminds you what flight you're on, in case you're on the right -- to make sure you're on the right flight.  So, for those of you who think you're at AEI listening to Dick Cheney...  


            KAHL:  ...this is a different flight. 

            Look, I know all of you know a lot about this deal.  I'm not gonna spend a huge amount of time going into the nuts and bolts of it.  I'm going to spend most of the time in my formal remarks talking about some of the most prominent criticisms of the deal. 

            But, as you're all aware from day one, with the possible exception of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, no other national security issue has received as much attention from President Obama and the rest of the administration as the quest to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. 

            We put in place a very effective dual-track strategy that blended crippling sanctions and direct diplomacy, and the result was the JCPOA, the comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that was announced on July 14 and is now under review in the Congress. 

            Obviously, it is our view, and the view of the vast majority of experts inside and outside the government, that this is a good deal.  It's a good deal for the United States, it's a good deal for the world, and it's a good deal for our allies in the region, including Israel.  

            It's a good deal because, as Daryl mentioned at the outset, it closes off all the various pathways whereby Iran might acquire nuclear weapons.  It puts significant long-term constraints on Iran's enrichment program, blocking a uranium path to a bomb. 

            It requires fundamental changes in the design of the Arak heavy water research reactor, and requires that -- the spent fuel from that reactor to be shipped out for the life of -- of the Arak reactor, closing off the plutonium path using that reactor forever. 

            And it puts in place the most intrusive verification and transparency measures ever negotiated, including 24/7 surveillance of Iran's key nuclear sites, regular IAEA access to the entire nuclear supply chain -- that means mines, mills, conversion facilities, centrifuge production facilities, and all of their nuclear facilities, which effectively makes it impossible for Iran to divert materials from their known program to a covert program. 

            It also has a mechanism to ensure that IAEA inspectors have timely access to any site in Iran where we suspect Iran is engaged in suspicious activities, and a mechanism to ensure that no combination of Russia, China or Iran can block those inspections. 

            In exchange for rolling back their nuclear program and putting in place these transparency measures, Iran will receive some sanctions relief associated with nuclear-related sanctions.  But there will be no sanctions relief until the IAEA validates -- verifies -- that Iran has completed all of the key nuclear steps asked of it in the first part of the agreement.  

            If Iran violates its commitment, now or in the future, we have a procedure to unilaterally reimpose, or snap back, sanctions.  We can do that at the United Nations.  We can do it here at home, unilaterally through U.S. -- domestic sanctions, and working with our partners in the E.U.  So if Iran cheats, we'll know it, and there will be consequences.  

            So that's kind of the top line of the deal.  You're all aware of that.  On its merits, I think it's unquestionably a good deal.  A very good deal.  But I think it would be more useful, now that Congress has returned and are about to have a pretty full-throated debate on this deal this week, to maybe focus the remainder of my remarks on three major criticisms.  

            There are many more criticisms that -- that you hear, but I want to focus on three of the most prominent ones.  One is the notion that, somehow, after year 15 in the deal, Iran is allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.  All right? 

            Second, that the deal provides a windfall of cash for Iran that they can use to spread terrorism, mischief, subversion, militancy throughout the Middle East, threatening Israel and our other allies.  And third, the notion that, if we walk away from this deal, we can get a better one.  So let me focus on those three major critiques.  

            Some of our critics assert that the deal actually paves the way to an Iranian bomb, because after 15 years, certain constraints on their program end.  So let's be clear about two things: first, under this deal, Iran is never allowed to build nuclear weapons.  Never. 

            And second, Iran already has a path to the bomb, or what Colin Powell recently called a "superhighway" to a bomb.  And without this deal, they can get there in months, not decades.  

            Now, it is the case that some constraints on Iran's enrichment program under the deal loosen as Iran builds confidence, over many years, in the exclusively peaceful nature of their program.  As a member of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the NPT, Iran is allowed to access nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. 

            But under the NPT, Iran is never allowed to produce nuclear weapons.  That permanent obligation is reinforced by specific commitments under this deal, including permanent bans on research and development relevant to designing a nuclear warhead. 

             Iran is never allowed to produce weapons-grade uranium.  They are never allowed to produce weapons-grade plutonium for a bomb, either.  And if they expand their activities in ways that are inconsistent with a peaceful program, at any time, I have no doubt that this president or any future president would respond.  

            The intrusive transparency and inspections measures in this deal also stretch far beyond 15 years.  Some of them last 20 to 25 years, and others, like the additional protocol, which allows the IAEA extensive access to Iranian site, last in perpetuity. 

            And if, at any point -- at any point -- 16 years from now, 18 years from now, 20 years from now, 25 years from now, Iran moves towards a nuclear weapon or takes steps that are inconsistent with a peaceful program, every single option we have today, including the military option, will exist for a future president of the United States. 

            And some of those options, frankly, will be better as our capabilities and intelligence improve over time.  So this notion that Iran can waltz in through the front door of the nuclear club after 15 years is nonsense. 

            What about the second critique, that the plan somehow enables Iranian mischief by giving them a windfall of cash?  There's no doubt that this is a serious issue, and one we have to remain vigilant against. 

            But let's be honest: to argue that we can't lift any nuclear-related sanctions until Iran stops all of its nefarious activities outside the nuclear domain is really saying that we should never strike a nuclear deal with this regime. 

            All right?  So let's be honest about what this critique is.  If you can never lift any nuclear-related sanctions until Iran stops everything that we don't like, it's basically saying there will never be a nuclear deal. 

            I'm not a fan of this regime either, but as troublesome as they are, as anti-semitic as their rhetoric is, as horrible as their support for terrorism, subversion, and other activities are, these dangers would be exponentially worse if Iran acquired a nuclear weapon and could use the cover of a nuclear umbrella and a nuclear deterrent to shield their destabilizing activities. 

            That's why we focused, first and foremost, on eliminating this threat. 

            Our critics also exaggerate the amount of money Iran is likely to get.  They have about $100 billion trapped in these overseas escrow accounts from the -- in the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil.  But, of that money, our Treasury Department estimates they will only be able to access a little over $50 billion. 

            Our intelligence community and Treasury Department also calculate that Iran will have to spend the vast majority of this money on domestic needs, because they have a half a trillion dollars in urgent infrastructure and other economic requirements. 

            And while we don't think of Iran as a democracy, there are real politics there, and Rouhani got elected on a platform of saving the Iranian economy by breaking its isolation and -- and removing sanctions, and the supreme leader would never have endorsed this deal unless he felt the same. 

            So there are powerful economic and political imperatives to spend this money on domestic issues.  

            Does that mean there will be none left over for the Iranian military or the revolutionary guard?  No, it doesn't.  It is certainly possible that Iran could spend some of the cash from sanctions relief to funnel towards actors that we don't like.  

            Of course, this was always going to be a challenge if we ever got a nuclear deal, because the price of getting a nuclear deal was -- was removing some of the sanctions.  

            How Iran ultimately chooses to use its money regionally will depend in part on how the fractional competition within Iran plays out.  I can kind of argue this round or flat.  You can tell a story about how the deal could enable pragmatists and moderates to get the upper hand and eventually clawback more control over foreign policy, away from Qasem Soleimani and the revolutionary guard.

            You can tell a story about how sanctions relief and more integration into the international community would allow engagement in moderation via the Iranian people, who still remain overwhelmingly pro-American. 

            But I can also tell the story the opposite way, right?  That the supreme leader compensates for the nuclear deal by doubling down on his support for the hardliners and funneling some of the money in their direction. 

            I think we have to be honest, it could break either way, which is why we -- this deal wasn't premised on a bet that Iran would change its stripes, and its -- this deals not a grand bargain with Iran, nor is it a permission slip for Iran to dominate the region.  

            During the Cold War, recall that we confronted an enemy that was an evil empire, that controlled huge swaths of the global that literally killed tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of American allies that subverted our allies in Europe and Asia and Africa and in Central America.  And yet, we still struck deals with that regime to reduce the risk of nuclear war.  

            In the 70's and 80's, under Democratic and Republican administrations out of recognition that we can walk and chew gum at the same time, that it is possible to arms control agreements with our adversaries in ways that make us safer, while continuing to push back against their destabilizing activities elsewhere, and that's what we will commit to do moving forward. 

            A big part of this means continuing to sanction Iranian entities that commit acts of terrorism or engage in human rights violations.  None of our ability to do that goes away as a consequence of this deal.  A big part of that includes continuing to stand by our allies, Israel and our Arab partners, especially in the Gulf. 

            Look, I know there are significant policy disagreements with the Israeli government.  By the way, that's not unique.  If you look at the history books, there have been lots of American administrations that have not always seen eye-to-eye with Israeli governments.  But one thing is beyond question and that is that no administration in history has done more for Israel's security than this administration.  No president in history has done more for Israel's security than this president.  

            We've worked with Congress to provide more than $3 billion to Israel every single year in foreign military assistance.  We've worked to provide them another billion dollars on top of that for missile defense systems, including Iron Dome.  It has saved countless Israeli lives from rockets fired by Iranian proxies. 

            We have taken unprecedented steps to ensure Israel maintained its qualitative military edge against all potential adversaries, including Iran, by giving Israel -- providing them access to technology like the F-35 Stealth Fighter, which no other actor in the region possesses. 

            We have also offered, for months now, to engage in -- in discussions at the highest levels about what more we can do in the areas of intelligence and security cooperation with the Israeli government, and when the Israeli government is prepared to engage in that conversation, we'll be there. 

            We've also done -- taken actions to stand by our Arab partners.  As I speak, 35,000 American forces in the Gulf region, defending our interest, defending our friends and making sure that the -- that commerce flows freely through one of the most important straits in the world.  It's also why the president convened our Gulf partners at Camp David and also the meeting that he had with the king of Saudi Arabia just last week to explore ways we can expand our security cooperation, to build their capacity on things like cyber defense and critical infrastructure protection and maritime interdiction and ballistic missile defense and to conduct special operations. 

            Also, that they have greater capabilities to push back against any country's destabilizing activities in the region. 

            What about the notion that if we just walk away from this deal, we can achieve a better one?  By the way, let's be clear what the better one is frequently described as.  The better one that our critics usually describe is a deal that, instead of limiting Iran's program, dismantles their civilian nuclear program forever and conditions any lifting of sanctions to include nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, changing all of its behavior we don't like, right? 

            That's the better deal.  Drive them to zero forever and don't lift a single sanction until they stop doing everything we don't like.

             Let's be frank.  Even that deal wouldn't satisfy our critics.  Do you know why?  Because at the heart, they don't believe Iran will comply with any deal, which means even if they drove their program to zero, those same critics would argue, "You can't trust Iran, they won't follow through," and they would still argue against their own better deal.

             Let's be clear about another thing.  The rest of the world believes this deal is the better deal.  The rest of the world believes this deal is the better deal.  If we walk away now, there is no chance, zero, of the rest of the world going along with us.  As Brence Grocaugh (ph) said, if we walk away, we walk away alone.

             Keep in mind, the sanctions that we have put in place on Iran are not only costly on Iran, they are costly on countries that want to do business with Iran or buy oil from them.  Other countries have gone along with these sanctions, especially during the Obama administration, because they have agreed with our policy objectives of seeking a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue, and they've also believed our promise that sanctions would eventually be lifted when we got the kind of nuclear deal that we now have in front of us. 

           During the 1990's, we had secondary sanctions on Iran's energy sector, which the rest of the world ignored because they didn't agree with our policy objectives.  We've seen this movie before.  If we walk away, it's hard to see -- it's hard to see us keeping the international coalition currently isolating Iran together.  Europe would be divided, Russia would undoubtedly bolt and many Asian countries, especially China and India, would be eager to buy Iran's oil again. 

            Consequently, sanctions will erode and the international consensus around our Iran policy will collapse, and guess what?  You can't drive to a better deal with less leverage and less international support.  It defies the laws of political gravity.

            More broadly, killing the deal would cripple our global leadership.  My boss, the vice president, often remarks that as he travels the world, and he's gone to I think almost every world -- every country in the world across more than 40 years in foreign policy, he says the one thing that he hear more than anything else these days, and I heard my fair share of this as well, is concerns about whether the United States can govern.  

            It's not a questions about our power.  We are the most powerful country in the world.  We have the most powerful military, we have the most dynamic economy, we have the most vibrant population.  Nobody doubts that we remain the world's indispensable power.  What they doubt is whether we can govern.  

            So if Congress wipes away this deal, either through the actions this week or through future legislation aimed to tank this deal, others around the world will ask whether we can live up to our commitments and exercise the kind of leadership they expect of us.

            So if we walk away now, we will all be in a world of hurt.  We, not the Iranians, will be isolated.  Iran will be less constrained to advance its nuclear program and there is a very real chance that we could be on a path either to an Iranian nuclear weapon, a military confrontation, or both. 

            Now there may be some, although I suspect not in this room, who prefer the path of armed conflict against this regime.  Well, no one should doubt or question America's capability and will to do what it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.  That is the policy of this administration, I have no doubt it will be the policy of future administrations.  No military strike will set back Iran's program a fraction of what this deal accomplishes.

            And no one, after a decade plus of war, should be cavalier about the cost and consequences of yet another war in the Middle East, especially -- especially when we have a peaceful, diplomatic solution at hand that does so much more to keep us safe. 

            Thanks, I look forward to your questions.


            KIMBALL:  Thank you very much Colin.  

            We have about 15 minutes or so for your questions and Shervin will bring forward the microphone, if and when you raise your hand for a question.  We have one up front, right here on the -- this side. 

            Please identify yourself.

            QUESTION:  Sam Gilston, with The Export Practitioner.  The American business community is concerned that the continued implementation of existing sanctions on Iran for terrorism and human rights abuse will put them at a disadvantage with European and Russian, Chinese business that won't have the same sanctions in place. 

            What will the administration do as far as guidance and implementation regulations to give U.S. business somewhat of the same opportunities in Iran, if at all, that the Europeans and others are going to get?

             KAHL:  Yeah, I think -- I think we have to be clear that American businesses are not going to have the same opportunities that other country -- that other countries' business are going to have. 

            I mean under -- under this agreement, the vast majority of our bilateral sanctions on the ability of U.S. persons and businesses to do business with Iran period don't go away.  So it's not just a byproduct of future terrorist or human rights sanctions, it's the fact that -- that sanctions architecture will remain in place. 

            There are certain things, like licenses for civilian aircraft, some trade like in carpets and pistachios and other things, which will be enabled and who knows where this thing will go, especially if Iran moderates its behavior down the road.  But yes, American businesses will not be in the same place as -- as European and Asian businesses. 

            I mean, part of this is that's going to have to emerge -- those opportunities are going to have to emerge in the context of where -- whether Iran changes some of its fundamental orientation and behavior. 

            I should also say, from a national security perspective, I don't think we want to take the view that it's not important to continue to put in place designations and sanctions against entities that, from this point forward in Iran engage in terrorism and human rights abuses. 

            This deal is a nuclear deal, it's not about the rest of their activities and if Iran continues to fund terrorism around the world, the treasury department will continue to go after the entities that -- that do that. 

            QUESTION:  And -- one -- one related question here, if I might ask, Colin, is this brings up the issue of the implementation process and how the administration is going to be managing this. I mean this multi-year agreement, many different moving parts. One question that we've been getting quite a lot lately is whether the administration is going to set up a dedicated office to deal with the various issues including the joint commission, dealing with some of the, the sanctions, relief issues and management issues. So could you give us a sense of what the thinking is about how -- I mean how much attention the administration is going to give to that and how that implementation work might proceed in the coming months?

            KAHL:  Sure. This is actually an issue we've been working on for months. In the last two or three months of a negotiating period we had a completely parallel track with a completely separate set of folks based out of the State Department but it was an inter-agency team, focusing on what would be required to implement the deal. Now, even before the details of the deal were finalized. So this is something we've been thinking about for a long time. We will have a dedicated senior officials with high level contacts to the Secretary of State and, and the President and others. 

            There will be an inter-agency team and obviously a lot of the resources that we have already devoted to the Iran question and the intel side and other things are directly relevant to monitoring and verifying the agreement as well. So without going to too many of the specifics of the, the -- the short answer is yes. There will be a very robust implementation team and it's already in training.

            But I don't want to do kind of the cart before the horse thing cause we have to do through the a review process with Congress. And once we got on the back into that, I can -- it's all in our interest to have a pretty full-throated conversation about implementation.

            KIMBALL:  All right, All right. We have a couple questions here. We'll start in the back and then we'll come forward please.

            QUESTION:  Christine Parthemore, Center for American Progress. Aren't right action (ph) programs focused on countering weapons of mass destruction threats in the Middle East really just started a few years ago in earnest. I'm wondering if focusing past the current debate in Congress and looking at implementation, if there's thought being put into expanding those programs as a way of bolstering regional stability and improving the capabilities for countering all WMD threats for some of the neighboring countries?

            KIMBALL:  And why don't we take  Tom's question up here Serbin)? Thank you.

            QUESTION:  Colin, I'm Tom Cochran (ph).

            I'm not suggesting walking back the deal but I'm, I'm curious why the P5 plus one didn't offer Iran a fuel bank of the final assembled -- assemblies, say a 10 or more a year supply for free stockpiled in Iran and suggest that they use that period to negotiate a fuel cycle that wouldn't be threatening to others?

            KAHL:  Both good questions. So Christine, great to see you again. Christine and I used to work together a long time ago at the Center for a New American Security. And then Christine did a bunch of great work on counter WMD stuff at the Pentagon. I think it's a great question actually. There are -- as we move through implementation, I mean there are going to be sensitive, trade sensitive technologies. Not only in the nuclear area but obviously things that could be relevant to chemical and biological weapons. Not exclusively with Iran, but across, across the region. And I think as we think about policing certain elements of this agreement like the procurement channel and making sure that Iran does not get access to a list of technology that we should bring to bear every tool in our tool kit to include some of these, some of these things.

            I also think obviously, we have to be mindful of other countries that may pursue WMD. I mean one of the things we try to be -- look, we think this is a -- we think this a very good deal. But what we've tried to be honest about is, it doesn't solve every problem with Iran and it doesn't solve every problem in the Middle East. So we're going to continue to have to work on all the issues that, that you've worked on to include a WMD beyond the contours of this particular deal.

            Tom, it's a great question. You know, I think we -- I think --look I think in a perfect world, Iran would have 0 fuel domestic indigenous fuel cycle activities. They wouldn't engage in any domestic enrichment period. But of course, we, we the U.S. government ran that play in 2003, 2004, 2005 during an earlier stage of negotiations with the Iranians where the Iranians basically temporarily froze their program and then came back to the Europeans who were beginning negotiations at a time to propose a deal that in many respects looks like the current deal and the Bush administration in 2005 rejected that as viable because they demanded 0 enrichment.

            So I don't know that -- you know we, we've tried to demand 0 domestic enrichment in Iran for year and it hasn't worked. And part of the issue Iran has a very strong culture and identity of self-reliance. They're not the only country in the Middle East to have a culture like, like that. But they think of themselves as a great civilization as a great scientific and technological leader and have for a long time.

            And I know that's not everybody's image of Iran, but it's their image of themselves. And the reason -- and, and they also have a narrative about how the international communities has reneged on a whole series of deals throughout the life of the Islamic Republic and even before that. So it's very difficult given that mindset, to get them in a place where they would be wholly reliant on international sources of fuel. Which is one of the reasons why I think that 0 enrichment option was never, never proved all that viable.

            So we explored that. It wasn't something we could get the Iranians and the rest of the P5 plus 1 to sign onto. So instead we shrunk their program to contain it in a way that I think prevents them from getting a nuclear weapon but through a different pathway -- different route.

            KIMBALL:  All right. We've got a couple of questions over here. And then we'll take this third one.

            QUESTION:  Thank you Dr. Kahl, I'm Ali D. Maffnesum (ph).

             The question has to do with the fact that it seems the deal is in the bag given what's happened in the Senate over the past few days. And because of that it seems like the remaining 16 months of the Obama administration are anything but a lame duck. And the question then becomes are there discussions underway among your colleagues and yourself regarding the real security threat in that region which is the calamity that's unfolding, has been unfolding is Syria and Iraq and Yemen and whether you think the success, the historic achievement that has been experienced by the U.S., led by the U.S., can be parlayed into a resolution or some kind of deal bringing in the various countries in the region. Thank you.

            KIMBALL:  All right. And then let's take Richard's question please. Right up front. Richard? Yep.

            QUESTION:  Thank you. Colin you mentioned three critiques of the agreement but there's -- and there are as you say many others. I wanted to ask if you would provide your perspective on critique about the Iran IIEA agreement, sort of the path forward to resolve the issue of possible military dimensions to previous historical Iran and nuclear work since that has been a times a big stumbling block for those in Congress and a lot of, I think misimpressions and misinformation have been out there in the public domain. 

            KAHL:  Okay. Great.  Pamedad (ph), actually I think we've done a lot  since the last wave of, of Congressional luncheons to demonstrate that this administration is not a lame duck. The administration in the area (ph) formed policy in Cuba. The Iran deal, obviously getting trade promotion authority through the Congress and hopefully heading towards the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which would be a historic trade agreement that would link together economies that make up some 40% of the world's economy. 

            That's some serious business to get, to get done so I think -- the President said, "We're in the fourth quarter and big things happen in the fourth quarter." Whether you know, how this deal plays out as it relates to Syria is TBD. There's no question that what's going on in Syria is incredibly disturbing and heart-breaking. If there were easy answers, I mean I know some of our proponents, you drop a few bombs here, you put up a no-fly zone there and you snap your fingers and the war will go, go away. 

            As someone who used to oversee these types of things at the Pentagon in the first three years of the administration I can tell you that's not, that's not true. And our, our but, whether this deal allows us to pivot  into a different diplomatic space on Syria, it's it's completely unclear. You know, a lot of that ball is firmly in Iran's court. Up to this point, more pragmatic actors like Rohani (ph) and Zahrif (ph), have really, you know, while they've been predominate in the nuclear file, they've been less predominant in the regional file as a whole where the revolutionary guards and curb line (ph) elements have certainly been more upfront. More on the vanguard of Iran's activities.

            So, you know. We're certainly not going to, in a sense, cut a deal with Iran at the, at the, at the expense of the people in Syria or the rest of the region. The fundamental questions is whether Iran's calculation is starting to change and we don't know yet. But there -- one thing is, is clear.

             I think the Syrian regime is probably more -- under more battlefield pressure than at any time since at least 2012. If you look at a map, they've lost a lot of territory. They're kind of besieged by, by all sides. I do think the Iranians and the Russians are worried about that. 

            Whether that creates a moment for us to figure out a viable political transitions of -- which is ultimately what's going to be required to end this conflict, we'll have to see. But if the Iranians in the Russians are, are willing to engage in a serious conversation about that, you know, we'll engage in that conversation along side our other partners in the region like Turkey and Saudia Arabia and, and others.

            Richard. Yes, I didn't talk about the conspiracy theories of the secret side deals struck between the IIEA and Iran on the PMD issue, on the possibility of military dimensions issue. This is one of the greater misconceptions. There are no side deals. There are no pieces of paper in our possession that have not been given to Congress.

            All of the general requirements that Iran has to meet to provide access to the people, places and documents necessary for the IIEA to complete it's investigation into PMD are spelled out in the road map which is available to members of Congress. 

            It is true that there is a technical annex, or technical document that does the kind of tick tock of when, where, how or that. It's an IIEA document with the Iranians. It's quote unquote safe guards confidential as all IIEA documents of it's type are to include the ones they have with us. There are reasons why documents like that don't get published on the interwebs. And that's because you don't want the world's road states and terrorists to learn about every other country's nuclear program. 

            We have an interest in the IAEA not publicizing our information either. But because this information was so important to us, we were briefed in detail on the plan and we have in turn briefed any member of Congress who, who wants to know about it. I don't know if you've read, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's op-ed the other day, but she remarked that she was very concerned about some of the reporting about side deals and self inspections at Parchin and everything else until she got the briefing on it and then -- and then she -- her concerns were put aside.  

            So there's no side deals, there's no secret deals, there's no self inspections.  There's a process for the IAEA to get the access they need to conclude their investigation. 

            Last point I would make is let's all keep in mind, though, that this is (inaudible) set of past activities that we already know about, right?  This isn't really about getting more information, it's about establishing the president that the IAEA can get access to facilities moving forward if they suspected illicit activities.  And I'm satisfied and we're satisfied that the arrangements that the IAEA has with Iran on this issue are good enough, and that moving forward, they're very strong. 

            KIMBALL:  All right, two quick questions and then we're going to have to close.  I'm sorry. 


             QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Benjamin Tory (ph), retired Foreign Service officer.  

            Could you speak to the likelihood that supporters of the deal will be able to muster the 41 votes to block a vote opposing the deal to get out of the Congress? 

            KIMBALL:  All right.  And then one question right here.  And we'll do a third and then we'll ask Colin to answer all three. 

            QUESTION:  Thank you for doing this.  I'm (inaudible) from Kyodo News Japan.  I'm wondering, so Iranian President Rouhani is coming to New York later this month.   So do you think it's a good idea for President Obama to have direct talks with him to promote the deal and discuss other issues, security issues, in the region?  Thank you.  

            QUESTION:  All right.  And then Colin, if I could just tag onto the first question, which is related to whether it will be 41 votes in support.  Some members of Congress have hinted that they're going to be offering legislation that, in my view, seeks to try to modify the terms of the JCPOA, extend some sanctions provisions.  One of them is Senator Cardin of Maryland. 

            Could you comment on what you all know about Senator Cardin's bill and similar efforts to try to adjust the terms of the agreement please?  

            KIMBALL:  And Joe, last but not least.  You were going to ask about Cardin too?  Look at that, simpatico.

            KAHL:  Benjamin, 41 votes.  I'm not trying to be glib, you'll know when we know.  We've put the full court press on all of the undecideds.  There's only a handful left.  We'll know in the next few days whether we get to 41 or not. 

            On the Rouhani-Obama UNGA possibility for direct talks, I have no idea and I certainly don't have anything to announce.  

            Cardin.  Yes, there is -- there is some interest I think on the Hill to have some standalone legislation separate from the -- our review process on the deal itself that would put in place a combination of security assurances to our allies and a set of clarifications and other issues related to implementation of the -- of the deal.  

            Look, I think we have made clear consistently that we want to work with Congress on legislation that will help implement this deal because implementation is really important.  We've also been clear with Congress and with our allies and partners that we want to move forward on deepening our already extraordinarily robust security assistance and cooperation relationships with Israel and our Arab partners.  So we're ready to work with Congress on that.  

            I'll repeat something I said during my remarks.  I mean, we've had numerous conversations with the Israeli government for months already, and those have basically been put on hold by them until we get beyond the Iran deal process.   

            As it relates to any particular piece of legislation like the draft legislation that Senator Cardin has been involved in, I don't want to litigate every line of it.  I'll just say that the draft that I've seen is quite problematic.  It has -- it undoubtedly does some good things, but it has a number of very problematic interpretations about the actual terms of the JCPOA which are just at odds with the explicit language in the JCPOA. 

            It has some things on the sanctions front that I think the P5+1 and Iran might see as inconsistent with some of the obligations under the JCPOA.  And at the very least, it has a number of provisions in it that are quite provocative and not unnecessarily so at a time when what we should all be focused on once we get beyond this review is how to effectively implement this deal, because our number one national security objective as it relates to Iran's nuclear program at this -- once we get beyond the review is implementing the deal and making it effective. 

             And so it strikes me as an odd moment to put in place legislation that is unnecessary, gratuitous and provocative.  So without prejudging every part of the -- of the legislation, because there were certainly parts of the -- of the draft that were reasonable and seemed like good ideas, there were a bunch of other things that were much more problematic. 

            KIMBALL:  Great.  All right, we -- we're out of time for this segment of our program.  I want to ask everybody to join me in thanking Colin for an excellent tour de force presentation, for your hard work on this issue.  And we will reconvene at 11 a.m.  with our next panel of George Perkovich, Kelsey Davenport, Ellie Geranmayeh after the half-time show of Senator Harry Reid, who will be speaking upstairs on some of these congressional issues.  So please join me in thanking Colin.  Thank you very much.



            KIMBALL:  All right, welcome back everyone. I'm still Daryl Kimball, still the executive director of the Arms Control Association. We welcome you back to the second half of our program on why the Iran nuclear deal is a win for a nuclear nonproliferation and security. 

            I hope that many of you appreciated the comments that Minority Leader Reid made upstairs, the earlier remarks from Colin Kahl and now we're going to turn to our panel to talk about the implications of the agreement, what the agreement does. We're also going to talk about the Congressional debates. That is about to erupt. We're going to talk about some of the legislation that's been referred to this morning from Senator Cardin and others. And to, to do all of this, we have a great line up this morning beginning with Kelsey Davenport who is the director for nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. Kelsey has been tireless in her efforts over the last couple of years researching the subject, tending the talks in Vienna, Geneva and elsewhere. And is the co-author of a report that we published last month, solving the Iran nuclear puzzle. And she's going to start off with a review of what this agreement actually does and why it is a net plus for nonproliferation. 

            We're also very pleased to have Ellie Geranmayeh who is a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, who like virtually everybody else from Europe who's been working this issue has come to Washington to join in the fun the next couple of weeks as the United States Congress begins looking at this issue. He has been focusing intensively on this issue. On how it's going to impact regional dynamics and is going to be presenting her analysis on how governments in Europe look at this issue. And I think you'll find that it's a little bit different from many here in Washington, not all. So we're very pleased to have her perspectives here this morning.

            And then also George Perkovich fresh from his introductory duties upstairs with Senator Reid. George, long time collaborator here at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is the Vice President for Studies. And he has been working for decades on the problem of nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament and has been looking closely at the Iran deal. And so he's going to offer his perspectives on the situation today and with the debate on the JCPOA and what's ahead.

            So, to begin, Kelsey, take it away, the podium is yours. And we're going to go, let me just remind folks, you know each speaker will speak for less than ten minutes or so so that we have sometime for Q and A from you all this morning. 


            DAVENPORT:  Thank you Darryl and thank you all for staying with us today and spending most of your morning looking at the Iran deal. I want to talk today about what the Iran deal does and then address one of the fundamental concerns about the agreement. And that's what happens after year 15, and there I really want to make two points. One, that the restrictions that remain past year 15 will provide a significant amount of information and an early warning about any changes to Iran's nuclear program and also that there are a number of steps that can be taken both by the United States, the international community and within the region to strengthen the nonproliferation value of the deal itself. 

            So first, just to reiterate what we heard both from Colin Kahl and Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid this morning, particularly for the first decade, the Iran nuclear deal is extremely strong from a nonproliferation perspective. Currently if Iran wanted to produce enough fuel for a bomb it could do so in about two months. Under this deal that timeline would be pushed back to over a year because Iran's enrichment capacity will be cut in half. All of the additional centrifuges will be stored under seal. And Iran's stockpile of enriched material will be dramatically reduced, down to 300 kg. Just a fraction of what is necessary for a nuclear bomb.

            And also Iran will only be enriching to reactor grade levels, about 3.67% for 15 years. The plutonium pathway even stronger. Iran would have to remove the core of the Arak reactor, and replace it with another core that will produce very little weapons-grade plutonium. And for the next 15 years Iran will not build any reactors that would produce that type of fuel.

            As Colin noted this morning as well, the monitoring and verification is extremely strong as well, the strongest ever agreed to in a nonproliferation deal. Every element of Iran's nuclear supply chain, from the uranium mines to the enrichment will be under continuous surveillance. And the International Atomic Energy Agency, through the additional protocol and the additional restrictions in the deal, will be able to access sites if there are concerns about elicit nuclear activity within a timeframe of 24 days, which is unheard of. 

            So very strong particularly within the first 15 years of the deal. However, after 15 years, some of these restrictions begin to come off. Iran can increase its uranium enrichment capacity. The limits on centrifuges expire, the limits on stockpile expires. And that leads some critics of the deal to say Iran will be very close to a nuclear weapon and even some supporters of the deal to express concern about what Iran's uranium enrichment program will look like after 15 years. 

            However, I think the idea that Iran will dramatically ramp up its uranium enrichment at that point, is not a foregone conclusion. First, if Iran does decide to ramp up enrichment, there'll be a number of indicators that will demonstrate what Iran intends to do.

            First I think it's important to note that the continuous surveillance on Iran's centrifuge production areas last for 20 years. The continuous surveillance on Iran's uranium mines and mills lasts for 25 years. Taken together, these will provide an early indication of what types of advanced centrifuges Iran is producing and in what numbers. 

            There are also a number of restrictions that are permanent. And we have up here on the screen a chart that appears in our briefing book, and I know the type here is probably to small to see. But what I want you to note is that a number of these provisions with the arrows demonstrate permanent provisions that this deal puts on Iran. 

            One of the most important I think does not receive enough attention in discussions of the deal. And that's in section -- annex one, section T of the agreement where Iran commits not to undertake certain activities related to weaponization, even if those activities have conventional purposes.

            Essentially, this prevents some of the scenarios that we've seen in the past where Iran has conducted certain types of explosive experiments and said that they were conventional, for conventional purposes. Iran will not be able to do this in the future.

            Also, some of the monitoring and verification mechanisms that are so crucial will also be permanent. Iran will have to adhere to a mechanism known as code 3.1, which requires it to immediately notify the International Atomic Energy Agency when it intends to build a new nuclear facility.

            That gives the agency time to adjust and develop an appropriate safeguards' approach. The additional protocol will also be permanent because Iran needs to ratify that within the first eight years of the deal. And that's an extremely important  mechanism that the International Atomic Energy Agency can use to request access to any site within Iran if there are concerns about illicit activity.

            Iran can take some steps to safeguard sensitive information, but ultimately with this measure in place, it will be up to the International Atomic Energy Agency to determine whether or not it receives appropriate access to ensure that Iran's program is entirely peaceful and that there are no elicit activities.

            So these are some of the permanent measures that will give the international community a greater picture of where Iran's program is going after 15 years and provide an early warning of any significant changes to Iran's program. And like I said, it's not a foregone conclusion that after 15 years Iran will decide to dramatically ramp up its enrichment program.

            And I think it would behoove the United States, the international community and the Middle East to consider steps, both at the regional level and at the international level to head off such enrichment -- to head off and disincentivize Iran from pursuing a much larger enrichment program.

            One of the things that I think is important is that Iran has said in the past that some of the restrictions under this deal it would be willing to adhere to in perpetuity if other countries in the region were willing to accept those terms. The restriction on enrichment to reactor grade levels for instance. Iran said it would permanently cap its program at 3.67% enrichment if other countries in the region did the same.

            Let's take the next 15 minutes to test that intention, to work with other countries in the region. Perhaps as a confidence building step toward a Middle East weapons of mass destruction free zone. To see if it's possible to put such a ban region wide. Some of the additional monitoring and transparency measures, including some of the continuous monitoring on enrichment.  Iran has also said it would accept in perpetuity if other countries in the region were willing to accept similar constraints if they chose to pursue enrichment. That's another area that can be tested as a possible confidence building measure. 

            Also I think region wide there's some space to look at things like multi, multi-lateral enrichment. There's an excellent piece in Science from some of the scholars at Princeton that explore this in more detail. But if other countries in the region are looking at pursuing nuclear programs having them buy into the Iran's enrichment program would provide additional oversight and ensure that there's guaranteed fuel supplies for the region. So that's another area that I can be explored within the next 15 years.

            There are also elements that the United States and the larger international community can and should take to strengthen this deal and hopefully head off any sort of Iranian enrichment on a larger scale after year 15. Right now Iran's sole nuclear power reactor, Bushehr is supplied by the Russian. Russia has also entered in a memorandum of understanding for additional reactors with Iran and has said it would supply those for the lifetime of the reactor.

            We know that China is interested also in reactor contracts. Encouraging countries to provide lifetime fuel for reactors, not only in Iran, but in the Middle East, or really with any sale of reactors, disincentivizes the need for enrichment. We certainly know from Iran's past experiences with it's investments in Euro Diff for instance, that it has had experiences in the past where the international community has not delivered on nuclear fuel.

            So these permanent fuel supply guarantees will ensure that Iran has the fuel that it needs for its reactors. Also I think when the United States and other countries that supply nuclear reactors to any country in the region or the rest of the world, should ensure that these countries have an additional protocol in place. Right now in the United States that's not a requirement on the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. That is an area where the U.S. could strengthen it's own norms and prevent then the further proliferation of some of these technologies within the region. 

            There are also a number of multi-lateral volunteer control regimes that could be strengthened. The proliferation security initiative, the missile technology control regime. These would help stem the further transfer of enrichment technologies, of reprocessing technologies, or technologies related to ballistic missile development that could sort of head of future attempts by Iran to pursue solid fuel missiles that pose more of a threat or inter-continental ballistic missiles once the UN Security Council restrictions on Iran's missile program come off after eight years.

            The proliferation security initiative also has some potential in some areas where the international community could take steps to encourage further cooperative action on interdictions and information sharing both to ensure that technologies within Iran are not spread to non state actors, and that the established procurement channel that Iran will use for duel use technologies is not circumvented.

            So while this agreement is certainly very strong from a nonproliferation perspective, it can be made stronger and it would behoove the United States to think about the next 15 years, to work with countries in the region, to work with nuclear supplier countries and take some of these steps  that would prevent Iran from dramatically increasing its enrichment after 15 years or other countries in the region from pursuing enrichment if they are considering their own domestic nuclear power programs.

            KIMBALL:  All right, great, Kelsey, thank you very much. And another point that I think this chart and, and Kelsey's presentation makes is that there is no clear sunset date by which the JCPOA ends. This is a multi-part, multi-deadline, multi-requirement agreement.   

            Ellie, it's very good to have you here. We heard earlier this morning that if the United States were to walk away from this deal we would be alone. So tell us why that is and give us your perspectives on how Europe is looking at this agreement. 

            GERANMAYEH:  Thank you very much. Good morning everyone. It's a pleasure to back in D.C. where the politics on Iran always has interesting twist.  And thank you very much for the invitation. As Daryl said, for the last two years I've been looking at Europe-Iran relations and how they've been developing since the interim nuclear deal was signed. And looking also at the impact on the regional stakeholders in the Middle East particularly. And Kelsey and I were joking that it was really nice to see each other outside of lobbies, hotel lobbies following the nuclear negotiations. So it's good to be here.

            I wanted to highlight three problems that have arisen with the debate in Congress over the past two months, particularly from a European angle and also three potential consequences for E.U. and U.S. foreign policy going forward.

            But the headline I wanted to really start off with before that is that for European countries, this deal and this negotiation has always been seen through a multi-lateral lens. It's one that there are six or potentially seven stakeholders to. And for the most advanced nuclear states in Europe, mainly the UK and France and Germany, this is as good as a deal as it's going to get in their perspective. 

            They've also started looking at actively beyond this nuclear centric lens on Iran and really looking at, one, focusing on implementation of the deal for the 15 to 25 year process. And also beyond that, where European stakes are very high is one regional security issues in the Middle East, especially the ongoing conflict in Syria and also trade implications. And really the Europeans, unlike the United States, doesn't have the proximity luxury of being distant from the Middle East.

            And we've seen the blowback for homeland security for Europe in the past year, with the refugee influx which has unfortunately been very mishandled and also impacts such as Charlie Hebdo, et cetera, et cetera.  So they really feel that now shifting to a regional security focus with Iran is their number one priority.

            At the same time they're looking at the U.S. debate, which for the last two months, has really morphed into one of U.S. domestic politics. It's not being seen as a multi-lateral accord, it's being looked at as a U.S.-Iran deal, which is entangled therefore in a lot of political baggage and historic enmities between these two countries. They've seen the millions of dollars that are being poured by both sides, advocates and opponents of the deal against -- against what the negotiations have created or in defense of them, and really this debate on this alternative or fantasy deal is just completely absent in Europe at the moment. They're looking at what's next to come.

            And there's a worrying sense I think that Congress really expects Europe to follow suit in whatever is decided within the legislative organ here. There have been comments that Europe can either be persuaded or coerced into either renegotiating this deal or changing the parameters, and I think this is far from certain. And the tone that's actually come out of this debate, I think can have damaging repercussions for the Trans Atlantic Unity and Sanctions Framework going ahead.

            So three of these problem areas I'll highlight quickly is firstly, Senator Menendez's comments and repercussions from July when he essentially said that, "Europeans are frothing at the mouth..." I quote, "...at the business opportunities arising from this deal." And I think a lot of people in Europe have seen this as a stab in the back.

            I believe the Europeans were the ones who started this diplomatic initiative back in 2003 with Solanna (ph). They took the brunt of the sanctions framework. It wasn't the U.S., it wasn't Russia or China. It was the Europeans who essentially went from being Iran's first trading partner to its sixth now and even lower.  And I think for them, if it was worth taking the cost of sanctions at a time when they were the highest trading partner, they would also do so again now when they're a lower trading partner.

            So to question, as Senator Menendez did, whether Europeans would be willing to call a violation a violation because of business interests certainly took some people by surprise, particularly given the level of cooperation that European companies and policy makers have had with the U.S. Treasury over the past few years. 

            Secondly was comments from Senator Schumer who's seen -- you know, and the European see him as quite an influential member of the U.S. Congress. And this was in respect of the use of secondary sanctions going forward. He essentially said that this is a very powerful weapon for the U.S. Congress, and not only can Iran be persuaded to renegotiate a deal with increased sanctions but also that European members could be coerced back to renegotiating through the use of secondary sanctions. 

            Now, while there's no doubt that secondary sanctions have been very powerful particularly in targeting Iran's business interests with European companies, I think this statement ignores a history behind how secondary sanctions came to be imposed. And a big part of that was the cooperation of European Union member states with the U.S. administration on going along with imposing their own unilateral sanctions on Iran's financial sector and energy sector. So essentially what happened was that actions that were penalized under U.S. law were deemed to be similarly penalized under European Union law. 

            And so now for members of Congress to threaten European companies and European member states with the use of secondary sanctions is not being viewed very lightly in the debate in Europe. Certainly I think the recent developments of the weekend with Senator Cardin's opposition to the deal and the assumption really in his Washington, Washington Post op-ed that Europe will be on board and has no choice but to be on board with whatever the U.S. Congress does. I think there are, as Colin remarked before, there are certain problematic interpretations of the, this proposed bill in regard to how the final deal has been actually interpreted. And for Europeans I think this is going to create a dilemma in terms of, if this deal passes Congressional review, will there be more processes in Congress to settle it, or to undermine the parameters going forward?

            And really, how will this play out with the Iranian debate that is going to follow after Congress reviews it, because the Iranians are going to see this as another back-handed way of undermining the negotiations. And I think Europeans are also going to worried about that. 

             Now, very quickly, three costs that I think a no boat or a premature derailment of this deal by the U.S. deal will have on U.S.-European relations. This is particularly so if Iran isn't even given a chance to start implementing, or once it starts implementing there are new ways of sanctions that essentially through back door means change the deal.

            I think, first, the Europeans are going to be placed in a dilemma scenario.  It's going to be -- I've heard from officials time and time again, this is going to be a nightmare for them to essentially decide whether to go along with a legislative organ of a foreign country and how it sees this accord playing out versus, essentially, the decision of 28 heads of state in the European Union to unanimously endorse this deal and to put resource and energy into implementing the deal. 

            And I think if they see this as a unreasonable obstruction of a diplomatic initiative that has taken 10 years to unfold, that the European Union has backed all the way, that the U.S. president has backed all the way, that scientists around the world have backed all the way, it's going to be very difficult for them to digest then, having this altered by a U.S. legislative organ.

            Secondly, I think it's going to have costs for Western foreign policy and the unity on sanctions regimes going forward. 

            Iran has been a test case, essentially, for how the European Union and U.S. Congress works together in quite an unprecedented way to impose sanctions, and to have this snap-back mechanism also imposed is quite unprecedented for the European Union.  So if they lose this -- lose face in this Iran test case, I think they're not going to be on board for future cases. 

            You know, we've seen a lot of the liberation in Europe as well as in the U.S. on Russia, for example, and other countries coming under Western sanctions.  And I think for Europeans, sanctions have always been seen as a foreign-policy tool to achieve a means, a diplomatic end, and if they're being seen as perpetual punishment on Iran, which, as Colin said, if -- if Cardin's bill essentially is a back-door way of imposing nuclear-related sanctions but under a different name, then I think it's going to be very difficult to restore European Union countries that in the future -- that sanctions will be used wisely.

            And third and finally, I think one of the things that the senators here, in some of their discussions, don't expect and I think what they should give more consideration is a European pushback against new Sanctions on Iran, new nuclear-related sanctions or a bill that changes the parameters of the current deal, because if the European Union caves on this issue, it will really set a dangerous precedent for its own foreign-policy decision making.

            We've seen before in the 1990s, when it came to Cuba or Libya or Iran with the Clinton administration's push on sanctions on European companies, a real pushback by the European Union, and I think we may be able to see the same thing happening now.

            And for Europeans, really, the number-one goal is to curtail Iran's nuclear program so that it remains peaceful and secondly to prevent a military confrontation with Iran that's going to set a potentially incalculable fragility in the Middle East going forward.

            And if they can find some sort of economic package to provide to Iran to prevent them from either going nuclear or to a military confrontation, I think they would do so, and they would push back against U.S. Congress's trying to derail the nuclear diplomatic initiative. 

            I think the clearest sign of that is really what's happened in the last two months with the Europeans and Iran.  We've seen Frederica Mogherini, the E.U. High Rep visiting back to back Riyadh and Iran and really outlining that her goal and their foreign policy on the Middle East is about engagement on some of the most contentious and difficult issues.  And I think the mantra for her is really that you don't make peace with your friends.

            Secondly, we've seen Fabius, we've seen Foreign Minister Hammond, we've seen the German vice chancellor visiting Tehran for the first time.  Very high-level visit.  And I think this is the signal really for the domestic debate here in -- in Congress that Europe isn't going to wait for this domestic debate.  It's going to have its own agenda on Iran, and it's going to reopen embassies, and it's going to talk about the regional issues and talk about trade. 

            And so I think that's -- that -- those are some of the implications to take into considerations when certain senators think that Europeans are automatically going to follow suit, whatever decision is made here in this capital.

            KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  That was very important and useful reminders here in Washington, which we often forget about.

            And to bat clean-up, I would like to invite George Perkovich to offer his thoughts about the -- the JCPOA, its impacts and the consequences of potential rejection down the line.

            So George, thanks for being here with us and...

            PERKOVICH:  Thanks, Daryl.  And I thought Kelsey and Ellie's presentations were terrific.  So I -- I -- I -- I want to, in a sense, take up after them and say that the more I've been looking at the debate in Washington and especially on the Hill -- sorry -- I -- I -- I conclude that you can't explain the vote based on an analysis of the deal or of its alternatives.

             So we're all doing our jobs, and Senator Reid, I thought, did a masterful job, made a very powerful case for the deal and -- and -- and -- and also suggesting the lack of alternatives.

            And -- and I don't think -- when you look at the explanations of the votes in -- in many cases, it's just -- it's not based on this kind of analysis.

            And I think there're a couple of ways to see that.  I mean, if it were based on the deal, which -- again, any deal is imperfect, so I'm not suggesting that -- that it is perfect.  But if it were based on a deal, you'd hear a lot more about some of the things that Kelsey mentioned on her list, and so I won't dilate on them, but I'll just mention some of them. 

            The -- the dedicated procurement channel, very important, very innovative.  If you really worried about a clandestine program and detecting that and -- and strengthening the intelligence community's capacity to detect that, you would focus a lot more on that.

             Something that Kelsey did mention, the weaponization R&D ban, that it specified that it's permanent, that it's unprecedented, that it fills a gap where the Nonproliferation Treaty never defined a nuclear weapon, never specified kinds of R&D that were out of bounds.  This agreement does.

            It also, the discussion, neglects the incentives for Iran.  So in other words, OK, it's, you know -- inevitably, Iran will cheat and everything else.  Well, there's so much in this deal that, on the negative side, should deter them from cheating.  So the different verification elements that are added, the detectability and -- and all that.

            But precisely because it -- it got some things it wanted, it has positive reasons also to -- to comply with the agreement, and -- and that kind of seems to be lost in a lot of the discussion here.  But so were some of the other incentives for the Iranians, I think, lost. 

            For example, I would argue that they have an incentive to trap us into demanding inspections, where we're going to think or allege that there's clandestine work going on and they're going to want us to do that, because then it's going to go be shown that there was nothing going on, and they can use that to humiliate us and to make it much harder for us to ask in the future when in fact, maybe there would be something going on.

            But there's very little discussion of -- of that kind of -- of -- of pitfall and the care that you have to take in going -- going forward on this.

            And then I think also what's missing, and this shocks me the most in a lot of ways, is that the most powerful thing I've read in this debate over the last months was by Reuel Marc Gerecht and, what's his name, Mark Dubowitz in the Wall Street Journal in July.

            And Reuel, who writes often for the Weekly Standard -- and I admire him.  He's a very intellectually honest guy.  He's advocated military force against Iran for at least 10 years and also advocated and said, "Look, this isn't like a three-week bombing campaign.  I'm talking about a 10-year warm," and goes into it in detail and says, "This is what we should do." 

            So they write this piece in July, and he says, "For those of us who believe that only military force will ultimately solve the Iranian problem because of the nature of the regime, this deal is required."  Because without a deal, without having demonstrated the United States' willingness to negotiate, to make compromises, to pursue diplomacy and then to reach an agreement, without that and then Iran breaking it, you can't get to military force.  You can only have that option if there is a deal and then Iran breaks it, which seems rather obvious and -- and, again, so surprising to try to -- "OK, what's the motive of the people who -- who are opposing this."  Because if they have a different strategy, the different strategy would be much stronger if Iran broke a deal than it is without a deal, where we're the ones who are blamed.

            So I think other things are -- are going on.

             One of the things that's going on, but it's an exhaustive list, is, you know, there is this sense -- and Senator Reid talked about, you know, people wanting it both ways.  Well, it's -- it's different -- it's -- and it's -- it's in our body politic now in a lot of ways.

             There's -- there's a view that you just don't negotiate.  You don't make compromises, It's unprincipled, it's a defiance of one's principles, it's immoral, it's -- it's bad to make compromises, so this wasn't -- so you shouldn't think about a negotiation.

            OK, fine.  How that gets manifested, one of the ways that gets manifested is, "Well, we shouldn't be relieving the sanctions, because the sanctions will strengthen Iran's capacity to do all of these other bad things on terrorism, so on and so forth."  All right, it's a genuine concern.

            But then I think that view is very -- I try to put it in Republican terms.  I mean, you always talk about, you know, taxes.  It's not our -- it's not the government's money; it's our money.  Well, these sanctions weren't America's money.  The sanctions were either Iran's money or the other companies and countries who were doing business with Iran, which then forewent that business.

            They agreed in essence to accept a tax in the form of sanctions in order to get us to negotiate with Iran a nuclear deal, where Iran would meet basic terms, right?

            So now our position is, "OK, we're going to take money we tax from them, we got the deal which was the explanation for why we needed the tax.  Now, we've changed our mind.  We're going to use your money to pursue regime change for Iran forever and not end the tax."

            And it -- it just -- the mind boggles that -- that they think that somehow you would've had this money if you hadn't promised to give it back to the -- to the Iranians.  But there's very little discussion.

            Similarly on the sanctions sequence, the problem is, the sanctions are being relieved immediately.  They should come later.

             I was walking in the Adirondacks hiking a couple weeks ago.  Like, I shouldn't -- I had a great vacation, but still, I think a lot about this. 


            So I'm, like, hiking up the mountain, and I go, "F."  Like, have you ever watched a gangster movie where the gangster either gives you the hostage or the weapons that they're selling you and says, "Don't worry.  I'll take the payment in five years."  It's all -- the whole movie is about the timing of the exact coterminous nature of the transfer, and the worry that as I'm handing it Kelsey, I'm going to get shot or my guys are going to shoot her and how do we -- you know, it's all about simultaneous.  And so I'm trying to think of the Iranians, with whom we have total distrust and they mistrust us more than we mistrust them, like way more, if that's possible -- it is possible.

            And so the idea that somehow -- OK, we're going to deliver and you're good, you Americans are good for the congressional support of the sanctions relief in five years and I'll go back and tell the leader this was a deal I guess.  And yet, that's still part of our discourse, so it's -- it's -- it's shocking. 

            So the last thought I have, and this one is hard to talk about, but I think it's super important and Ellie alluded to it a little bit but she's very diplomatic.  If somehow the U.S. reneges on this by act of Congress, ultimately a big part of that motivation is going to be -- be very successful and talented work of the American Israel Public affairs committee, which when you go up on the Hill people will tell you privately is kind of the driving factor. 

            And if they derail it, they'll be public about it, because they need to claim -- they'll -- they'll want to publicize that because they will have satisfied their donors and that's their objective and it will be a great triumph there.

            The -- the longer-term issue that we don't talk about is the effect on U.S. power, including power to defend Israel's interest, over time if the rest of the world feels like you can't negotiate with the U.S. ultimately because you don't know what you're going to get, because the government of Israel has veto power on the United States capacity to make policy and agreements in the Middle East. 

            And if -- and if that's the conclusion, I would -- I submit that will be the conclusion drawn if this is -- if this is blocked, then what are the longer-term implications?  Now I don't -- I think the people who are voting this way and taking the money, I don't think they care, but -- but the Republic itself has an interest. 

            I would argue the Republican Party has a longer-term interest that they want to govern and that this is something our European allies are being polite -- you know, and not really articulating, but it will be a very active problem that we will have to confront going forward.  And so again, I -- I think it's something we ought to talk about, perhaps after the vote. 

            Thank you.

            KIMBALL:  Great George, those were are all very excellent points and I must say I must've had a more relaxing vacation than you, because I watched "The Maltese Falcon" with Humphrey Bogart and -- and it did not occur to me to -- to draw the analogy with the JCPOA.  I just enjoyed the movie.


            PERKOVICH:  Mental health, that's good mental health. 

            KIMBALL:  So we've -- I mean -- our three panels have put a lot of good ideas and -- and points on the table and as we have been doing so, I would just note for those of you listening carefully and not watching your Twitter feed, that three additional senators have publicly expressed their support for the JCPOA: Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Gary Peters of Michigan. 

            I think there is one, maybe two more senators who have not expressed their view on this.  So how this debate plays out in the next few days, whether there is a filibuster of the underlying resolutions approval or not will get to be seen.  

            But one of the issues that -- that has been raised a couple times, and  I wanted to start out our discussion on this, is -- you know, is this just the -- the first vote, first debate on -- in an ongoing debate about the agreement?  And is -- is -- those opponents in Congress who oppose the deal, are they going to continue to try to find ways to undermine and re-litigate, renegotiate this deal?

            Kelsey and I had the pleasure of seeing one of the earlier drafts of Senator Cardin's legislation late last week, and I think it might be useful if she could offer some thoughts about what we see as some of the problematic elements of this draft legislation, which has not yet been introduced because that just may be a -- a preview of things to come.

            So if you could address some of that, Kelsey, that would be good to start us off with and then we'll open up the floor to -- to your questions.

            DAVENPORT:  So the legislation that Senator Cardin is proposing is problematic for several reasons.  One of the initial points that I think is worth highlighting is that it would transfer a bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, the MOP, to Israel.  That's a 30-pound -- 30,000-pound bomb and that bomb can only be delivered, as we know, by the B-52 H bomber or the B-2 bomber.

            Now Israel does not have in its domestic capacity the ability to deliver the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, so it would -- we would also need to transfer these aircraft to Iran, and that would be a violation of the new START Treaty, given that these aircraft deliver both conventional and nuclear weapons.  So fulfilling this element of the legislation, if it becomes law as written, would then violate our new START Treaty obligations with -- with Russia, so very problematic element there. 

            Also, it is unclear if Israel has even asked for this weapon.  There is no sort of known Israeli request, given that they do not actually have the air filter delivery capacity for this weapon.  There are a number of elements of the legislation that also attempt to renegotiate the provisions of the deal.  While some of these are expressed only in a sense of Congress, the optics that it would present are still quite problematic. 

            One section, for instance, says that Iran will not produce highly-enriched uranium under the JCPOA.  Now Iran will not produce highly-enriched uranium for the first 15 years of the deal, but as we have demonstrated, elements of the deal far exceed 15 years and if Iran upped its enrichments after 15 years, while that is undesirable and unnecessary, it would not be a violation of the agreement. 

            So Iran's response to the U.S. Congress renegotiating elements, I think, would be significantly problematic in terms of implementation going forward.  Also problematic, the legislation requires the International Atomic Energy Agency to provide the United States with complete information regarding its past military dimensions investigation. 

            If you heard Colin this morning, he talked about these being phrased as the quote/unquote, sort of "secret side deals" with the IAEA and he remarked that there is a need for these agreements, particularly on access to military sites, to remain confidential.  The U.S. would demand this, it'd make sense that Iran demand this, because making this information public certainly provides a security problem. 

            So requiring the IAEA to report on the safeguards confidential document not only impinges upon the integrity of the agency and its processes, but also would again be unacceptable to Iran based on statements that we have heard from within Iran itself. 

            You know, there are other elements that are problematic relating to -- to U.S. sanctions and when that sort of relief would come in relation to the additional protocol, that could actually delay Iran's permanent ratification of the additional protocol. 

            So for a number of reasons, this legislation is problematic and a rush to consider legislation that increases support for Israel in this way and seeks to renegotiate terms of the deal, could actually erode implementation rather than strengthen the deal, even though there are some positive elements in Cardin's legislation, like ensuring funding for the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

            So as Congress considers legislation moving forward, it will be important not to -- to jump the gun and sign off on anything that actually erodes the chances of the agreement being implemented.  

            KIMBALL:  All right, thank you very much.  All right, so we'll open up the floor and it's always good at Carnegie to start with Jessica Matthews.  So... 

            QUESTION:  Not anymore.  

            KIMBALL:  Not anymore.  Always -- Jessica.

             QUESTION:  Thanks, Daryl. 

            I just wanted to follow up immediately on this question of the Cardin bill, because it -- it -- I mean, I think we're clear now, it's not going to be a clear no on this deal, but it could be a muddle.  And I look at the Cardin bill and I think of the Majlis writing their version of the Cardin bill and all of a sudden we will be very quickly in who violated first, right? 

            So I was surprised you didn't mention the question of re-imposing sanctions -- that -- that the phrase in there that nothing in the bill prohibits sanctions on human rights, terrorism, dah, dah, dah, whereas my understanding the JCPOA says you can't take sanctions you've just lifted for nuclear reasons and slap them back on. 

            So can you talk a little about that and also the -- is the current version also says, as the earlier one did, that Iran has no right to enrich?

             KIMBALL:  Well on the first point, and then I want to ask Ellie to address your -- your first question -- yeah, the draft that we've seen asserts that Iran does not have the right to enrich uranium.  That's in the policy language section.  I think that's a gratuitous statement, I mean, many of us would agree that no, Iran doesn't really have to enrich uranium for its domestic energy needs, but they have been very steadfast in preserving their right to pursue the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  

            I mean -- so this is the kind of a poke in the eye from Congress that is just not going to be helpful, it doesn't serve any purpose and it could lead to an equal and negative reaction from the Majlis.

             But Ellie, if you could -- why don't you address this broader question that Jessica is raising about the continued imposition of sanctions on human rights and terrorism and further sanctions, and how Iran might respond to that, both in the context the JCPOA and as well as broader relations?

            GERANMAYEH:  So I think it's a great question and comment.  Just to highlight, the debate in Congress has already delayed the implementation process for about two months.  This is a time that basically after it became clear we're going to review process, Iran was quick to say, "Then our Majlis has the right to review once Congress has review.

            So I think the supreme leader, for his constituencies, has played his card very smartly to say, "We're not going to fully sign off on this deal until the domestic debate in the U.S. is over."  My concern with Cardin's bill is that even once we pass this hurdle, hopefully this week, next week on the congressional review process, that that's not the end of it, that we're going to get Iranian process of review delayed because they're going to want to see what happens with these new bills and legislation's.  Or premise any implementation on the basis they're not going to remove the nuclear related sanctions label and put on human rights and terrorism -- label on it.  

            And I think one point, also the previous talk with Colin where there was conversation about the Europeans going into do business with Iran and forgetting the human rights and terrorism sanctions.  Well Europeans already have sanctions on terrorism and human rights, which will remain in place. 

            The point is they're not going to now impose a new set of sanctions which can be misinterpreted as essentially the same nuclear related sanctions.  And I think if that move is made, there's going to be a big debate in Majlis.  And I think it's important to remember that this team in administration now, the Zarif Rouhani team, these were the guys that worked on essentially making a deal with U.S. and Afghanistan in 2001 and afterward they were burnt quite heavily within the domestic debate in Iran after the axis of evil campaign.  And so, I think this for them -- if they now get burnt on this attempt to negotiate with America, I think our ability to again, go back and re-negotiate is going to be closed for quite a long period of time.

            KIMBALL:  All right, thanks a lot.  All right, why don't we -- let's see we've got five question.  We'll try to get to everybody.  Why don't we start with Dr. Mein(ph) and then we'll go to Mr. Certsioni(ph), and then we'll got to the other side.

             QUESTION:  Thanks.  George, my question is for you about your last point, about this -- about what lessons one can learn about the practice of American leadership of whatever word one uses to substitute for leadership?  Given the fact that in the letters that the president to various members of congress and Secretary Kerry said, "those letters are actually quite belligerent in tone," and stressed the enormous military commitment that the United States has made to Israel and will continue to make for the foreseeable future and to some of the gulf Arab states.  

            You know, 20% of the Israeli is American foreign military financing.  Now the president says -- and so, the question, what has that model of engagement bought in terms of actual policy outcomes for the United States in any significant way, either with Israeli or with the gulf Arab states, given the actual situations that were priorities such as the settlements, and the Palestinian and Syria and Iraq and so many other things?  So what lessons do you think the Washington community can learn from this experience over the last few years? 

            KIMBALL:  Now, why don't we take Joe's question and then we'll address the questions.

            QUESTION:  Thank you very much.  Excellent presentations by all three, and my questions is related, I want to take advantage of your presence here, Ellie, to have you comment on this last observation by George. 

            How does this look to the Europeans?  How does this look to the Europeans?  Is it -- does it seem as if Israel has a veto over U.S. National Security Policy? 

            PERKOVICH:  My certainty is obviously -- this is just a cursory response to you vary large question.  But that, the -- a big part of the impetuous for this model of policy and for the financial assistance and security assistance to Israel and everything else was -- well goes back before 1948 and after.  But in general in the region, a lot of emerged from Camp David and the process there.  

            And so there as a sense that there was a piece effort.  Israel had made piece at least, you know with Egypt and Jordan and others.  The U.S. needed to support that, so it allotted money to Egypt which then we've run into what happened since 2011 in Egypt.  A lot of money to Israel obviously, assistance to Jordan, and then I think some of the underwriting of the GCC states, which was originally about oil supply. 

            So that was before the shale revolution and everything else, we wanted their oil.  So that transaction took in a lot people's minds worked.  It was keeping gas prices, keeping oil and gas available, but also keeping prices manageable.  So that was a business proposition in a lot of ways. 

             And we haven't really changed much of it even though the perception of the need for that oil and such has changed.  But there was also an element of, "yes, they didn't normalize relations with Israel, but they would kind of go easy on the Israelis and wouldn't, you know, cause too much trouble."  Instead they ended focusing in Afghanistan as you know well and Taliban and the Salafi movements that don't focus so much on Israel but on sectarian conflicts on us about whether that was a good deal or not. 

            So I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't think it's -- that, that model has been ineffective and hasn't had positive outcomes from the U.S. point of view. But I would say, a lot of premises are debated -- deserve to be debated now.  A lot of the conditions have changed and we haven't adapted in any way or very slightly to those changes.  And so one of the ways that you see that one the Iran deal is that -- you know people on the hill -- I mean I testified in February and a Senator from Nebraska is like you know, " we should give a peace treaty to Saudi Arabia." 

            To Saudi Arabia?  I looked at him and I said," The UAE tried to buy a port, they tried to pay for a port in the U.S. and congress, I think 400 to you know 34 voted against it.  Now you want to guarantee Saudi Arabia's security?  You know, blah blah blah. 

            Well she goes, "well I think we should do."  And I said, you know, I looked her in the eyes and said, "well, you got the votes for that?"  So there and so there's very little awareness for example, like what the Saudi regime is, who they support, you know, what sides are on, on a lot of issues.  But there's still a lot of people out saying, that's the problem with the Iran deal.  Is that our poor Saudi friends we have to really reassure them.  

            So there's a lot of catching up that's going to have to be done on all of this.  I don't know who's going to do it because I don't see -- I mean you don't see in this debate people really raising that question.  So I guess it's going to have a you be you know, folks like you or us?  

            KIMBALL:  Ellie? 

            GERANMAYEH:  So I think the E3 in particular after this deal have been very clear on outlining the -- there are institutional lengths that the Israeli establishment remains firm and they are in addition to the United States.  Where you have examined their commitment to Israeli security, but I think the public discourse and also the policy discourse in Europe is very different on the position of Israel. 

             Europe has it's version of APAC, but they have no where near the same influential policy here in Washington.  And I think that there is now a conversation much more broadly happening across Europe about the issue of the Middle East peace process and re-igniting that.  And what costs are going to be imposed on Netanyahu's government for essentially ignoring every demand that the Europeans have made on this issue.  

            And this is one of their -- the issues that potentially Federica Mogherini is going to bring back to light in the Middle East -- her Middle East program and agenda.  But I think also the -- the appearance of Netanyahu in Congress back in March slightly shocked Europeans, and the debate that ignited from that.  

            In a way, the policy debate essentially shifted shifted from that moment from being one focused on the nuclear issue to all of the regional problems that we have with Iran, and they were very worried that that could impact the negotiation that had been so intensely focused on the nuclear issue. 

            And -- you know, I speak to European policy makers all the time, and they say, "well, you know, it was the Israeli government that told us not to link these issues at the beginning, and now they're insisting on us linking them again. 

             And, you know, even -- even speaking to the Saudis, I was in Saudi Arabia last week, speaking to high officials, including the foreign minister, and they said, "no, actually, from our standpoint, we're firm that the regional issues have -- shouldn't have been linked to the nuclear issue, because we wanted to be in the room when the regional issues were debated."  

            So I think that there are a lot of conflicting messages from Israel for -- for the Europeans, but they've managed to distance themselves in the public discourse, in the policy discourse, when it comes to Iran, on what is the intention of the Netanyahu government in a way that is quite different to the U.S. debate.  

            And I think that will essentially feed the conspiracy theory that if APAC does have this win on this issue, that Washington is somehow governed and ruled by the Israeli agenda on Iran. 

             KIMBALL:  All right.  We have some questions over here.  We're gonna start in the back with Ambassador Loris (ph), and then we'll come forwards to the man in pink.  Microphone, please.  

            QUESTION:  Daryl, I just would like to ask a very specific question.  It's been fascinating, thank you very much for putting it on. 

            About what this Cardin bill is supposed to do.  Presumably the earlier panel here discussed it, but I've talked to a lot of Democratic senators who I think are involved in a process, including Bennet and a couple of others, who want to turn this into some sort of a -- a partner of the actual approval bill, of the bill that will actually be discussed.  

            I don't know how that works from a legislative point of view, but my sense is that many of the Democrats who've signed on this have signed off -- have signed on to it with -- with the qualifications that you see reflected in the Cardin bill, and I don't know how that actually will play out, because we'll probably know in the next couple of days, but we're going to be spending some time on the Hill tomorrow. 

             Did -- did anybody illuminate that issue?  How this Cardin bill is gonna relate to the actual bill that will be voted on? 

            KIMBALL:  Well, let me try to address that, and let me just remind you that we're speaking here in real time, this bill is still in draft form.  The Senate is about to begin debate in two hours.  The supporters of the JCPOA have just reached 41.  

            So there are a lot of things that you've just asked about that we cannot answer sitting here at this very moment.  But let me say three things about the Cardin bill that I think will apply, going forward.  

            One is Senator Cardin had a chance to look very carefully at the JCPOA.  He came out with the wrong decision.  He's -- he's gonna vote no, even though he does not have a viable alternative, and his suggestion that there is the possibility a better deal out there is, as was  said over and over again, is pure fantasy.  So I think it's -- it's an ill-conceived decision on his part.  

            And now he's offering a bill that, as Kelsey described, would reinterpret the JCPOA, would suggest that certain sanctions be extended  for quite some time ahead, which sends the wrong signal to Iran, and that certain weapons should be transferred to Israel that can only be seen as -- you know, direct military threats to Iran.

             This is not the time for Congress to be trying to inject these kinds of ideas into the discussion and debate about the JCPOA as envisioned by the original Corker/Cardin Iran deal review bill.  There will be time for the Senate and the House to look at ways in which the United States can and should reinforce our security relationship with Israel and the Gulf states, but at some later point in time. 

            So, to those members of Congress who are seeking to attach parts of this bill to the resolution on the Iran deal itself, I would say this is just not the right time.  These things have to be considered carefully, and it has to be considered in the context of how this affects the implementation of this very important agreement.  

            So those are all good questions, Bill, but I just -- you know, I don't think we can really address all of them on... 

             QUESTION:  I'm just saying I think it's coming down to a potential that many of the Democrats who've already signed on will be signing on with Republicans... 

            KIMBALL:  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I think you're... 

            QUESTION:  But why -- wouldn't it have to -- would... 

             QUESTION:  I don't know. 

             QUESTION:  Isn't there a committee process, number one.  Number two, when Republicans then try to amend it because it's not strong enough for them, and once they start throwing amendments on, then some of the Democrats kind of go, "well, I didn't sign up for"...  

            QUESTION:  Look, Daryl's right.  Daryl's right, it's too difficult to speculate.  But we're gonna be meeting some staff members tomorrow, and I just don't know what the thinking is. 

            My sense is that there's a lot of Republicans who would agree with the Democrats who feel that this is the way to get a win, or a mini-win out of this vote.  And I think... 

            QUESTION:  Right now, Bill, there's one -- there's one Democrat who supports this bill.  It is Ben Cardin.  We don't know if there's any others supporting. 

            So let me just -- let's leave it there. 

            QUESTION:  I'm sorry. 

             KIMBALL:  Okay.  We could go on and on to speculate, but I was trying to say, we don't really want to speculate too much at this particular moment.  

            QUESTION:  Let me just say one thing about George -- George's remarks.  

            KIMBALL:  Very quickly, thank you. 

            QUESTION:  This has nothing to do with the issue of the bill.  I heard Cheney just before I came here.  I went to the AEA (sic) in my hat of talking with the enemy, and his presentation was about a totally different bill than you're talking about.  

            It had analysis that I've never heard before -- I mean, I've heard pieces of it, but you've gotta read this to know how little what we've been saying here relates to what is the word out there. 

            KIMBALL:  So, George, would this be the first time that Vice President Cheney has been operating in his own world, or... 

Seriously, I would say we haven't heard the former vice president's comments, but we'll look forward to that.  Let me go to the next question.  Yes, sir. 

            QUESTION:  My name is Mohamed Alaa (ph) from American University.  Just one question to Kelsey.  You suggested that Iran, over the coming 15 years, might take steps to sort of extend the terms of the agreement as long as -- as other powers in the region can participate. 

             My question is, can Israel court -- participate somehow?  Can there be some sort of measures to build confidence?  Can we, for a change, forget about the sort of -- you know, balance, traditional balance of power approach to solving nuclear issues, and, in the Middle East, think about nuclear-free zone, with Israel signing the non-proliferation treaty, participating in the region, setting an example?  

            Israel is the only country in the region with nuclear weapons.  This is one thing.  The other thing is, I just came from a visit to the Middle East, and I've talked to lots of people.  Speaking about public opinion in the Middle East, not about leaders, public opinion, people don't care about -- as much about Iran, which does not have a nuclear weapon. 

             People care more about Israel.  So what leverage does the United States have -- and diplomacy, and just -- even public diplomacy, to say, "let's think in terms of sort of a liberal approach to solving this issue."  Thank you. 

            KIMBALL:  Thank you.  Good question.  Why don't you take that Kelsey?

            DAVENPORT:  OK.  I think there are a number of steps that can be taken at a regional level to increase confidence.  I don't think that Israel signing on to the NPT is going to be the first step.  I think it's going to be the very last step. 

            Unfortunately, at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference this spring, the lack of consensus on a final document derailed some of the very limited progress that was actually being made on establishing a Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone. 

            Prior to that, the Arab League and Israel and Iran, when it was able to take time away from the nuclear negotiations, actually were sitting down at the -- at -- at the table together under Finnish facilitator Jaakko Laajava, and were making some progress on coming up with an agenda to hold a conference to establish a zone.  

            Now, that is a very long process when you consider that they're just holding meetings, not holding a conference.  But it demonstrated that there were steps that both sides were willing to take to compromise on the agenda for the zone, in which case, you know, Israel wants to include conventional weapons.  They want a -- a broader mandate for the -- for the zone, to discuss larger regional security issues, where the Arab League has traditionally been sort of more narrow.  

            I think -- so I think it -- it is unfortunate that that process was derailed, because Egypt is a very hard-line position on where they wanted the zone discussions to go over the next year.  That being said, I don't think the process should be abandoned. 

            I think, in the next year as -- you know, we -- we look forward to the -- the 2017 PrepCom, there could be opportunities to reinvigorate parts of that process.  And there are steps that the countries in the region can take, independent of the process.  

            If you look here at the Middle East, you know, Iran, Israel and Egypt, none of these countries have ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  That's a step that they could all take together to provide assurance that nuclear tests would be -- any nuclear test in the region would -- would be detected, and also reaffirm commitment to the general principle of working towards a Middle East weapons of mass destruction-free zone. 

            So I mean, yes, it will be desirable at some point for Israel to sign on to the NPT, but first, it will be necessary to build confidence, and I think, looking at some of these interim measures like restrictions on enrichment, like more comprehensive monitoring and verification, will help provide some of that confidence at the regional level that will allow Israel to eventually move to a position where it would be willing to discuss giving up its nuclear weapons. 

            KIMBALL:  All right.  We're gonna take two questions here  and then we're gonna be wrapping up, so, yes sir. 

             QUESTION:  Ellie, you mentioned that the Europeans will be maintaining their sanctions for human rights and terrorism, which the U.S. also.  To what extent, and this goes back to Menendez's statement and other people's statement, the expectation that European businesses will be running to Iran to do business, which I guess some trade missions have indicated.  

            But to what extent would the continuation of U.S. sanctions that are permitted under the agreement inhibit European companies from doing business in Iran, even after the agreement is -- goes forward?  

            KIMBALL:  All right, good question.  All right, and then Mr. Cochrane (ph), your second swing at the ball.  

            QUESTION:  George, I'm not in favor of using force, and I'm not arguing against the deal, but I want to challenge one of your arguments, if I understood it correctly, and that's where you said you need the JCPOA in order to justify using force if they violate it.  

            Iran violated its safeguards agreement when it -- it illicitly bought and loaded with uranium and spun centrifuges, and by violating its safeguards agreement, it violated the NPT, and it's violated sanction -- I mean, resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, of which it is a member of the -- so, isn't the justification enough for all of these violations that you don't need another deal to justify whatever you were gonna do in the way of force?  

            And that goes also -- do you believe, under the NPT, that Iran has the right to enrich if its enrichment capability was developed illicitly in violation of the NPT and its safeguards agreement? 

            KIMBALL:  All right.  So Ellie, you want to start out, and then go to George? 

             PERKOVICH:  Can I -- can I -- can I be -- can I be -- I've got to take my son to the airport, so can I try to answer that one really quick and then... 

            KIMBALL:  OK, you go first, then. 

            PERKOVICH:  I apologize, but he's very anxious. 


             KIMBALL:  I'm sure. 

             PERKOVICH:  So just quickly, on -- Tom, I -- I -- I think in politics and psychology -- you know, it's three strikes, you're out.  I mean, we know this in childrearing, and in all sorts of other ways, like -- and so it really matters to have a president who came in and, in a very controversial part of the 2008 election, said "I will do business with these people.  I will try to negotiate."  He was hammered for it. 

            He did it again in 2012.  So this is the guy who's really taken risk for diplomacy, but that's a very different predicate than the shah signed the NPT, All right, before the revolution, and, yes, and then the ambiguities about -- you know, clandestine sentry. 

            This is like a negotiated deal, after all these years with this president bending over backwards, being accused for it -- I mean -- for doing that, that if the Iranians make that agreement and then violate it, yes, it's going to be politically a very different thing than -- than what they did before.  

            So I think the dynamic of it would be very changed, especially for whatever president comes after this president.  So -- and I think the Iranians know that, by the way, which is a good thing.  So it strengthens the deterrent against cheating. 

            But yes, I would say it's a different predicate.  Then on the -- the right to enrich.  I mean, where I would disagree -- I mean, I don't think -- it's gratuitously asking for fights to say Iran doesn't have a right to enrich.  I think it happens to be the case, but they also don't not have a right.  

            The NPT doesn't speak to it one way or the other.  It's a political issue.  And I had this discussion in Iran in 2005, and the Iranian diplomats basically agree.  They say, "yeah, it's true.  I mean, as long as you're willing to acknowledge that we don't not have a right, yeah, fine, we, you know, can say it doesn't say we have a right." 

            But that's the issue.  So then the question of, okay, they acquired it by cheating.  My response is, well, they would have gotten it one way or the other, and then they can say, "no, no, we knew how to do it over here, and yes, we got -- you know, this centrifuge, but we could've gotten that centrifuge." 

             So you really -- I mean, seems to me that's a capillary issue rather than a big issue of how they acquired the capacity to -- to enrich.  It doesn't -- I don't think that one gets you very far. 

            KIMBALL:  Thank you. All right.  Ellie?  

            GERANMAYEH:  Can I just tag on a few comments of what George just said?  I think one thing from Colin's remark that was interesting to hear a U.S. administration official say is this importance of self-reliance for the Iranians, and the history of mistrust definitely goes both ways.

             And I think for them, in terms of the nuclear capacity issue from the -- from a peaceful program angle is one thing that probably they've been aspiring to get to since the Shah's time, it's been their way of balancing themselves with Israel.  And I think that had they not done it by cheating, George is completely right.  They would have gotten them some other way. 

            And secondly, this issue of America using military force, I think one thing that this administration has done is really revamped the image of the U.S. police copying (ph) the Middle East image after Iraq which had, I think, quite dramatic impact, particularly in Europe, how they viewed the U.S. policy on the Middle East. 

            So I think going to extreme lengths to exhaust the diplomatic angle will also bring with it, if there is cheating from the Iranian side, European support for any action, military action in Iran should it go to that length. 

            On the question about business from the European angle, since the interim deal, there's been trade delegations going into Iran, there's been attacks on these trade delegations for potentially boosting (ph) sanctions, and we know for a fact that that hasn't really been the case.  In fact, European business with Iran hasn't really increased, even in the -- in the allowed, permitted areas under the interim deal, because most European companies are so hands-off that the impact that the U.S. Treasury has had on European business has been quite blunt and quite huge in terms of scaring the living life out of them in doing business particularly with big financial sectors and the energy sector.  

            And really, those are the two sectors that Iran is hoping to re-integrate into the European business -- financial sector and the energy sector.  And my prediction has been talking with CEOs of major oil companies in Europe is they're going to tread with a lot of caution going back into Iran.  They took a big financial hit having to pull their resources and their projects out of Iran, and they're going to want to see at least a year or two of the successful implementation of this deal before they march back in. 

            And you know there's been worries that at a state level in the U.S., sanctions are going to be imposed in various forms on this nuclear issue, and I think they're going to watch very carefully how this plays out in the U.S. both at a state level and also in terms of the next U.S. president implementing this deal.

             So I don't think we're going to see a flood of energy investment that Iran needs in the next year or two, and I think it's a Burma (ph) case that will -- the level of sanctions on Iran have really been unprecedented.  So I think it's going to be a slower process than what people claim.  

            KIMBALL:  All right.  Well, thank you very much.  We're out of time for this morning's event.  Appreciate everybody being here.  With the presentations from Kelsey, Ellie and George, we've tried to underscore why this is a game-changer for nuclear nonproliferation, why it's in the U.S. national security interest and that of our allies and why we have 41 senators right now expressing their strong support for this agreement, despite the very partisan nature of the debate.  

            And so we thank you for being here and look forward to engaging in the future on how this deal plays out and the other problems that we all are concerned about.  So please join me in thanking the speakers. 




The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 

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Posted: September 8, 2015

Congress Considers Iran Deal

Although the Senate’s top two Democrats are split on supporting the nuclear deal with Iran, Congress appears unlikely to be able to block the White House from implementing the deal.

By Kelsey Davenport

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (left), Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz (center), and Secretary of State John Kerry appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing on the Iran nuclear deal on July 23. (State Department photo)The Senate’s top two Democrats are split on supporting the nuclear deal reached by Iran and six world powers in July, but with Democratic support solidifying behind the agreement over the past month, it appears unlikely that Congress will be able to block the White House from implementing the deal.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced his support for the deal Aug. 24, saying he will do “everything in his power” to defend it. But Senate Democratic Whip Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said in an Aug. 7 statement that he would vote against the deal because of what he perceived as “serious weaknesses” in it.

Iran and the six powers, known collectively as the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), reached the July 14 agreement after 20 months of negotiations.

In an Aug. 4 speech at American University, President Barack Obama said that the deal “cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb” and contains the “most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever negotiated” to monitor Tehran’s nuclear activities (see box). In return, Iran will receive relief from U.S., EU, and UN nuclear-related sanctions.

Congress has until Sept. 17 to review the deal and decide if it will vote on a resolution of approval or disapproval. A congressional vote to disapprove the deal would prevent the president from waiving certain sanctions on Iran that the United States committed to waiving as part of the agreement. (See ACT, June 2015.)

Passage of a resolution of approval or disapproval requires a simple majority. Overriding a presidential veto, which Obama has said he will exercise if Congress votes down the deal, requires a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.

As of Aug. 31, 29 Democrats and two independents have publicly said they would support the agreement, three shy of the 34 necessary to sustain a veto in the Senate. Of the 15 remaining Senate Democrats, two have opposed the deal, Schumer and Robert Menendez (N.J.), and the other 13 have not publicly indicated their position. None of the 54 Senate Republicans have endorsed the deal.

If implementation of the deal proceeds according to schedule, Iran and the P5+1 will begin taking steps to implement their respective commitments in October. 

A Better Deal?

Some lawmakers opposing the deal, including Menendez, argue that a stronger deal is possible. In an Aug. 18 speech at Seton Hall University announcing his opposition, Menendez said the United States could still get a better deal by leaving the November 2013 interim agreement in place and strengthening sanctions to put more pressure on Iran to further reduce its nuclear program.

But in an Aug. 23 e-mail to Arms Control Today, an official from a European country involved in the negotiations dismissed the argument that the P5+1 can return to the negotiating table. He said it is “ludicrous for the U.S. Congress to think Europe will meekly follow Washington” and impose harsher sanctions if the deal is rejected. He said it is “even more ludicrous” to assume that Iran will be willing to re-engage in talks after the international community endorsed the deal.

The UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the agreement on July 21 in a resolution that laid the groundwork for lifting UN sanctions when the deal is implemented and set up a mechanism for reimposing sanctions if Iran violates its commitments.

The European official said that the deal is the “best chance to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.” Washington’s “credibility is on the line,” he said, and a rejection of this deal could “damage the prospects of future negotiations with Iran.” 

Inspector Access

Tero Varjoranta (left), the top safeguards official at the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Yukiya Amano, the agency’s director-general, attend a special meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors on Iran on August 25 in Vienna. (Dean Calma/IAEA)Other members of Congress say they oppose the deal because it is not strong enough. Schumer pointed to the inspections regime, which he says should give “anytime, anywhere” access to inspectors, as a reason to oppose the deal.

Under the terms of the agreement, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continuously monitor some of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran is required to provide them with access to all declared nuclear sites in as little as two hours.

Iran also is to implement and then ratify the additional protocol to its safeguards agreement, which, among other things, allows the IAEA to request access to any area, including military sites, to investigate evidence of illicit nuclear activities. In these cases, Iran can take some steps to protect sensitive information.

As an additional measure to ensure that Iran complies with any IAEA request for access to an undeclared site, the nuclear deal gives Iran and the IAEA 14 days to work out an access arrangement to allow inspectors to visit a site. If Tehran and the agency are unable to do so, a commission set up under the deal will have seven days to consider the access request and issue a decision.

The commission is made up of eight members representing the P5+1 countries, Iran, and the European Union. Five of the eight members must agree for the commission to issue a decision on access.

If Iran does not implement the commission’s ruling within three days, any of the P5+1 countries can go to the Security Council to reimpose sanctions. Thus, under this process, inspectors would be granted access within 24 days.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a July 22 interview with Politico that it is “essentially impossible” for Iran to clean up illicit activities involving nuclear materials with any degree of confidence during the time before IAEA inspectors are able to visit a site. As part of its technical work to support the negotiations, the Energy Department conducted experiments with uranium and “unsuccessfully probed the limits of trying to clean it up” within 24 days, Moniz said.

Another reason for confidence in the deal’s ability to constrain Iran is the monitoring and verification regime it establishes, Moniz said. Under that regime, he said, Iran would have to replicate an entire nuclear supply chain to pursue an illicit program, and only “one weak link” is needed to indicate undeclared nuclear activities.

Information Delivered

An IAEA press release announced that Iran had submitted information on Aug. 15 to answer questions and provide information for the agency’s investigation into Iran’s past work that is suspected of having been related to nuclear weapons development.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

The Aug. 15 deadline for the submission of information by Iran was established in a July 14 Iran-IAEA agreement that is separate from the deal between Iran and the P5+1, but the text of that deal says sanctions relief is dependent on Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA probe.

At a special Aug. 25 meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors to discuss monitoring and verification of Iran’s adherence to that deal in Iran and request funding for carrying out the measures, IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano said that Tehran provided “explanations in writing, and related documents, for the clarification of past and present outstanding issues.”

Under the Iran-IAEA agreement, the agency has until Sept. 15 to evaluate the information recently provided by Iran and ask additional questions. Iran will have until Oct. 15 to respond. By Dec. 15, the IAEA aims to complete its assessment of the past Iranian activities allegedly related to nuclear weapons development.

Posted: September 3, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About The Iran Deal - Part Two



The following is an excerpt from the Arms Control Association's newly updated report, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action."


Volume 7, Issue 11, September 3, 2015

The following is an excerpt from the Arms Control Association's newly updated report, "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action."  The questions and answers were split into two separate Issue Briefs. Read part one online.

In response to the many inquiries we have received about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) over the course of the past several weeks, the Arms Control Association has compiled the following brief responses to the most frequently asked questions.  

4. The Impact of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s Nuclear Capabilities

Will the JCPOA block all of Iran’s nuclear weapons pathways? 

Yes. This comprehensive agreement will effectively block Iran's uranium and plutonium pathways to the bomb for 15 years or longer. Among other features, the agreement establishes verifiable limits on Iran's uranium-enrichment capacity and its stockpiles of enriched uranium. Under the JCPOA, the time it would take Iran to produce enough highly enriched uranium for one bomb would increase to 12 months or more. It will also dramatically cut the output of plutonium at the Arak heavy-water reactor and eliminate Iran’s ability to pursue plutonium-based nuclear weapons.

The JCPOA will also put in place additional measures to ensure that any covert program is deterred or quickly detected. These measures will build on the additional monitoring and verification under the interim agreement, which expanded international oversight of Iran's nuclear program through increased IAEA access to sites. 

In addition, Iran is required to implement and ratify its additional protocol as part of the JCPOA. Specifically, the additional protocol gives the IAEA expanded rights of access to information and sites. With the additional protocol, the agency will continuously monitor Iran's entire fuel cycle, including facilities such as Iran's uranium mines, centrifuge production facilities, and its heavy-water production plant. This will make it extremely difficult for Iran to siphon off materials for a covert program without prompt detection.

The additional protocol also helps the IAEA check for any clandestine nuclear activities in Iran by providing the agency with greater authority to carry out timely inspections in any facility, civilian or military, that the IAEA has reason to believe is engaged in noncompliant activity. 

How does the JCPOA limit Iran’s uranium-enrichment capacity after 10 years?

During the first ten years of the JCPOA, Iran may not enrich uranium to more than 3.67 percent U-235 and it may only do so with 5,060 first generation (IR-1) centrifuges at its Natanz site. 

During the first eight years Iran will be permitted to conduct testing with uranium on a single IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, and IR-8 machines. Enriched uranium will not be extracted. 

After eight and a half years, Iran will be permitted to test up to 30 IR-6s and 30 IR-8s, again without withdrawing any uranium. The Joint Commission must approve any changes to the research and development plan, which must be submitted well in advance.

While Iran will be able to manufacture IR-6 and IR-8 machines after eight years, it will only be permitted to produce 200 of each type of machine per year and will not be permitted to produce the rotors. During this time Iran’s centrifuge production manufacturing will still be subject to continuous monitoring. 

After ten years, Iran will be permitted to produce complete machines but production levels must be consistent with Iran’s civilian enrichment needs, which will be low. 

In years 11–13, Iran can deploy more advanced machines, but it will need to remove the equivalent capacity of the operating IR-1 centrifuges so that the overall enrichment capacity remains the same. Excess centrifuges will be stored under IAEA seal.

As stated in annex I, section A, “Iran will begin phasing out its IR-1 centrifuges in 10 years. During this period, Iran will keep its enrichment capacity at Natanz up to a total installed uranium-enrichment capacity of 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges.” 

For 15 years, Iran may not possess more than 300 kilogram of low-enriched uranium, which also helps to limit its potential breakout capacity.

For years 14–15, Iran could increase its uranium-enrichment capacity, but Iran would still remain several months away from accumulating enough material, and if it tried to do so, it would promptly be detected in sufficient time to stop or delay such an effort.

What is an additional protocol and is it permanent?

An additional protocol is an expansion of a country’s comprehensive safeguards agreement with the IAEA. All countries that are members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty are required to have a safeguards agreement in place. The additional protocol is optional, but strongly encouraged, and once ratified it is binding. The necessity of the additional protocol became clear after the Iraq and North Korean cases of the 1990s demonstrated that traditional safeguards are not thorough enough. 

An additional protocol broadens the scope of the IAEA’s monitoring to all facilities related the country’s nuclear supply chain and allows for short-notice inspections. It also allows for the IAEA to request access to undeclared sites, including military areas, if there are concerns about illicit nuclear activities. 

Once ratified an additional protocol is permanent. Iran negotiated an additional protocol and voluntarily implemented it between 2003–2006. As part of the JCPOA, Iran must update and implement its additional protocol before sanctions are suspended and it must seek to ratify its additional protocol no later than eight years after implementation day.

What is Code 3.1?

Code 3.1 is an extension of a comprehensive safeguards agreement. When Iran begins to implement this provision as required by the JCPOA, the IAEA will receive information about any plans Tehran has to expand its nuclear program much earlier than it would under the existing safeguards agreement. Under Code 3.1, Iran must notify the IAEA when it chooses to build a new facility as opposed to six months before the introduction of nuclear material. Iran would also be obligated to share any design changes to existing nuclear facilities in advance.

In 2003, Iran accepted modified Code 3.1 but reneged unilaterally in March 2007. The JCPOA commits Iran to implement Code 3.1 indefinitely.

Does the JCPOA provide the IAEA with "anytime, anywhere" access to suspected nuclear sites? 

The JCPOA provides timely access to any site, military or civilian if there are concerns about illicit nuclear activities. The IAEA must identify specific questions to be resolved and identify specific locations where it wants to send its inspectors. Providing the inspected party, in this case Iran, with this information will not provide it with information that helps Iran evade detection or stall the investigation.

There are 121 countries that have an additional protocol in force and 78 complementary access visits were carried out last year. Only in Iran is there a process to ensure timely access. 

Under the JCPOA, the request by the IAEA triggers a 24-day clock under which Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to come to an agreement on access. If not, the Joint Commission, created by the JCPOA, has seven days to make a determination on access, and if at least five of the eight members vote to allow the IAEA to investigate, Iran has three days to comply. 

If Iran tries to stall access beyond 24 days, there are consequences. If just one of the P5+1 countries is not satisfied with the decision of the Joint Commission on access, it could take action to re-impose earlier UN Security Council sanctions on Iran.

It is possible that there will be no delay, and in response to a request for urgent access by the IAEA, Iran will open the site for immediate inspection. 

If there is a delay, the IAEA will be closely watching a site once it becomes suspicious by ordering satellite imagery, perhaps continuing through the investigation, and by seeking corroborating information, especially from states willing to share intelligence information. 

Could Iran cover up illicit activities at a suspect site within in 24 days?

Under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran is required to provide inspectors access to undeclared facilities (military or civilian) if the IAEA requests it under the terms of Iran’s additional protocol. Under an additional protocol, the IAEA can request explanations for suspect activity and access to a potential covert site to investigate evidence of undeclared nuclear-related activities.

Critics of the JCPOA site access provisions charge that 24 days may provide Iran with enough time to cover up certain types of nuclear activities. 

As IAEA safeguards veteran Thomas Shea has noted, when an IAEA request for timely site access involves a building, and especially when it involves uranium (or plutonium), 24 days will not be long enough to prevent detection.

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz told Politico on July 22 that Energy Department specialists assess that, “It is essentially impossible, certainly with confidence, to believe that you’re going to do this kind of work with nuclear materials and be confident at having it cleaned it up.”

Would the IAEA Depend on Iran for Nuclear Residue Testing?

No. Under managed access procedures that may be employed by the IAEA, the inspected party may take environmental swipe samples at a particular site in the presence of the IAEA inspectors using swabs and containment bags provided by the IAEA to prevent cross contamination. According to former IAEA officials, this is an established procedure.

Such swipe samples collected at suspect sites under managed access would likely be divided into six packages: three are taken by the IAEA for analysis at its Seibersdorf Analytical Lab and two to be sent to the IAEA's Network of Analytical Labs (NWAL), which comprises some 16 labs in different countries, and another package to be kept under joint IAEA and Iran seal at the IAEA office in Iran as a backup and control sample if re-analysis might be required at a later stage. The process ensures the integrity of the inspection operation and the samples for all parties.

How Long Does the 24-Day Limit on Suspicious Site Access Last?

Section C, page 9, paragraph 15 of the main section of the JCPOA states that this requirement will last for 15 years. After that point in time, Iran’s additional protocol will remain in place as will the Joint Commission to resolve any disputes.

Does the JCPOA require Iran to provide the IAEA with information about its past activities with possible military dimensions (PMDs)?

Yes. On November 11, 2013, Iran and the IAEA concluded a framework agreement for moving forward to resolve the outstanding concerns. Under the terms of the framework, Iran and the IAEA agreed to resolve all outstanding issues, including PMDs, in a step-by-step manner. Iran provided some but not all of the information. 

The new Iran-IAEA July 15 “roadmap” requires that Iran deliver to the IAEA all information by August 15 that is necessary to allow the agency to conclude its investigation. The JCPOA requires that Iran allow the IAEA to answer follow-up questions and respond with all necessary information by October 15, and before the implementation of the agreement and the removal of nuclear-related sanctions. This will provide the IAEA with key information necessary to make its final determination on the PMD issues and to verify that no such efforts are taking place in the future.

Resolving the questions about the past military dimension issue is important but is not a prerequisite for designing the verification and monitoring system. Nor is it realistic or necessary to expect a full "confession" from Iran that it pursued nuclear weapons in the past. After having spent years denying that it pursued nuclear weapons and having delivered a fatwa against nuclear weapons, Tehran's senior leaders cannot afford to admit that Iran hid a nuclear weapons program.

Is sanctions relief dependent on the PMD investigation?

Iran must provide the IAEA with the information and access the agency requires to complete its long-running investigation into the past possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program before Iran receives any relief from UN, U.S. or EU sanctions. However, sanctions relief is not dependent on the agency issuing its final report on the PMDs.

What is the IAEA’s broader conclusion?

The “broader conclusion” is a rigorous designation issued by the IAEA to provide assurance that a country’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful. It requires implementation of the additional protocol for a number of years, and in Iran’s case, compliance with the JCPOA. The IAEA makes two conclusions as part of the broader conclusion, that there has been no diversion of nuclear materials and no indication of undeclared nuclear materials and activities. The broader conclusion goes beyond the conclusion issued to countries only applying a safeguards agreement or with outstanding questions. Under a safeguards agreement, the IAEA only reports that declared nuclear material has been used only for peaceful purposes for the year in question.

How does the JCPOA procurement channel work and how long will it last?

Under the terms of the JCPOA, if Iran wants to purchase any goods or materials that could be used for its nuclear program that are identified on established IAEA dual-use lists, the Joint Commission working group on procurement would need to review the request and authorize any purchases. The working group would also be permitted to conduct end-user checks to ensure that the materials ended up in the right places. Combined with the complete inventory of the materials that Iran uses for its nuclear program, this will help ensure a thorough accounting of dual-use materials to prevent siphoning off for a covert program. This procurement channel mechanism will be in place for no less than 10 years.

How long does the sanctions snap-back provision last?

For the 10-year duration of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, if a dispute is not addressed through the Joint Commission to the satisfaction of the P5+1, any one of the six-countries could act to snap back earlier UN Security Council sanctions on Iran. (The JCPOA specifies that if a complaining party believes that there has been a violation of the agreement even after good faith efforts to resolve it, it may call for a vote on a resolution to extend the suspension of earlier sanctions, which only requires one of the P5 to veto to trigger the re-imposition of UN sanctions.) The United States has said the P5 have agreed that they will maintain the same approach for an additional five years.

How long Does the Joint Commission last?

The JCPOA does not specifically state when the termination date for the Commission is, but some requirements of the JCPOA that the Joint Commission is responsible for overseeing will last 25 years. Therefore it will have responsibilities that last for 25 years, and possibly longer.

5. Other Issues

Does Congress have a right to see the confidential IAEA-Iran documents on concluding the agency’s PMD investigation?

As an independent organization, the IAEA's process should not be subject to approval of the P5+1 or the U.S. Congress. Nor should the IAEA be forced to disclose sensitive information that could also compromise Iran’s legitimate security concerns. While it is critical that Iran cooperate with the IAEA and provide the agency with the access and information it requires, the content of the agency's investigations and inspections are not typically public because sensitive information is at stake. 

Additionally, the IAEA laid out its concerns about past nuclear weapons work, and it should be up to the agency to determine what access is necessary to resolve its questions, not the P5+1. The IAEA does answer to its Board of Governors, where the United States is represented, and will be required to report on progress to the UN Security Council, where again, the United States will be fully appraised of the process.

Will the United States be able to impose more sanctions on Iran for non-nuclear related concerns?

Yes. The JCPOA prohibits the reissuance of sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear activities. If the United States imposes these measures then Iran can walk away from the deal. However, additional U.S. sanctions for terrorism and human rights related issues are fair game.

Will the JCPOA trigger or head-off a proliferation cascade in the Middle East, with countries like Saudi Arabia deciding to move toward nuclear weapons. 

The JCPOA imposes strict limits and monitoring on Iran’s nuclear program, thus reducing the risk that Iran may someday pursue nuclear weapons. This will provide assurance to the international community that Tehran is not seeking nuclear weapons and that any deviations from the deal will be quickly noticed. This will reduce, not increase, the temptation by some states in the Middle East—particularly Saudi Arabia—to pursue the technical capabilities necessary to acquire nuclear weapons.

The alternative—no comprehensive P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal—would lead to an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program with far less monitoring. This poses a far greater threat to countries in the Middle East and could increase the possibility of a "proliferation cascade" in the region.

How does the Iran Deal compare to the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea?

Iran is not North Korea. The JCPOA differs substantially from agreements reached with North Korea in 1994 and 2005 regarding its nuclear program. 

The IAEA inspections and monitoring measures on Iran's nuclear program will be much more intrusive and stringent than those placed on North Korea, which were limited to one site. Iran has also demonstrated that it values its position in the region and international community and it wants UN Security Council sanctions on its program removed. This only comes through adherence to an agreement. 

The 1994 Agreed Framework, unlike the JCPOA, did not require North Korea to dismantle or modify its plutonium production reactor and it did not include stringent transparency and inspection provisions across the entire fuel cycle and across the country. As a result, North Korea was able to evade detection and pursue a secret uranium-enrichment program.

Is a “Better Deal” possible or necessary?

No. Nevertheless, some critics of the agreement like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) argue that Congress should reject the JCPOA and “urge the administration to work with our allies to maintain economic pressure on Iran while offering to negotiate a better deal.”

But that is wishful thinking. 

If Congress blocks implementation of the JCPOA, it would turn an American diplomatic breakthrough into a strategic disaster. The result would be that:

  • The United States would undercut its European allies and other UNSC members,
  • The necessary international support for Iran-related sanctions would melt away,
  • Iran would be able to rapidly and significantly expand its capacity to produce weapons-grade material,
  • The United States would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons effort,
  • The international nonproliferation regime would suffer a severe blow, undermining the stability of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as the foundation for international security, and
  • The risk of a nuclear-armed Iran and the risk of a war over Iran’s program would increase.

On balance, the P5+1 and Iran nuclear deal is a strong, effectively verifiable, long-term agreement that increases the security of the United States, its allies, and Iran. It is an opportunity that we cannot afford to squander.—KELSEY DAVENPORT and DARYL G. KIMBALL


The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization dedicated to providing authoritative information and practical policy solutions to address the dangers posed by the world's most dangerous weapons. 

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Posted: September 3, 2015

How the Iran Deal Prevents a Covert Nuclear Weapons Program

On July 14, Iran and the six-country group known as the P5+1 reached an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that promises to end the 13 years of escalating tensions that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions have caused.

By Richard Nephew

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (third from left), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (fifth from left), EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (center), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (third from right), UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (second from right) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (right) sit at a table at the Palais Coburg hotel in Vienna on July 6. The officials were representing the group known as the P5+1 in the final stages of negotiations with Iran on the country’s nuclear program. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)On July 14, Iran and the six-country group known as the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reached an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that promises to end the 13 years of escalating tensions that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions have caused.

The deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is an impressive collection of restrictions, restraints, and monitoring provisions applied to the Iranian nuclear program. Under the deal, Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon using declared facilities is effectively closed for at least 10 years and in some respects longer. Tehran could attempt to produce nuclear weapons material via the declared nuclear program, but to do so would be to risk almost immediate detection and response. This is a result of a combination of measures that constrain Iran’s capabilities and ensure their monitoring.

Although media and public attention has often focused on the known nuclear program, experts generally agree that it is the possibility of a covert program that causes them most concern. Iran has a history of building nuclear facilities in secret and admitting to a range of sensitive nuclear activities only after the fact. The agreement needed to address this problem.

At a fundamental level, this is tremendously difficult. It is difficult to prove the absence of something, particularly in a country as large as Iran. Deliberate evasion of monitoring and transparency measures, which any covert program would involve, naturally makes this job even more difficult.

The subtle effectiveness of the agreement may be most pronounced in the provisions dealing with potential covert activities. Critics have latched on to the issue of how much time it would take for inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to gain access to undeclared sites, but this is largely a straw-man complaint based on an erroneous assumption that “anytime, anywhere” inspections would be achievable in anything short of a postwar environment, such as the one in Iraq in the 1990s.

By focusing on this particular issue, skeptics miss the fact that the rest of the agreement is geared to ensure that no significant undeclared facilities can exist. This article will describe in detail the various provisions of the deal that serve as a check against the possibility of covert sites by forming concentric circles of protection. The article also will address the few scenarios in which a potential failure of the system could take place. In doing so, it will demonstrate that the likelihood of these scenarios is sufficiently small as to be implausible and therefore does not constitute a sound reason to reject the deal. 

Defeating the Covert Option

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at a press conference at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport on July 15. Zarif and Ali Akbar Salehi (not pictured), head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, spoke after returning to Tehran from Vienna, where they reached an agreement with the P5+1 on Iran’s nuclear program. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)In order to have a covert nuclear weapons program, Iran must address three needs: access to nuclear materials, access to the equipment and technology to transform nuclear materials into weapons-usable materials, and time. Iran also would need to have a proven nuclear weapons design and viable means of delivery, but the longest lead time and greatest complication are associated with the production of the nuclear weapons material itself. To be truly covert, such a program should have minimal interactions with declared Iranian facilities, which will be subject to inspections and monitoring. Thus, it is likely that an entirely separate nuclear fuel cycle would have to be created for this endeavor, in which there might be a sharing of knowledge between the declared and covert programs but little else that would risk the exposure of illicit activities.           

Among the needs of a covert proliferator, the first and foremost is finding a way to obtain nuclear materials. The uranium-monitoring provisions of the comprehensive agreement will make it very difficult for Iran to do this without being caught. Under the terms of the deal, Iran will permit the IAEA to “monitor, through agreed measures that will include containment and surveillance measures, for 25 years, all uranium ore concentrate produced in Iran or obtained from any other sources.”1 As a result, Iran will not be able to produce a secret stockpile of uranium from its existing mines because such a move would be detected by means of the containment and surveillance measures that exist, which can be loosely described as a combination of seals and cameras.

Theoretically, Iran could seek to procure uranium illicitly, but this would be contrary to UN Security Council actions taken before and since the July 14 deal. These restrictions dictate that any uranium coming into Iran go through a procurement mechanism that is enshrined in the deal. This procurement mechanism will govern the transfer of any Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) controlled or dual-use items or materials to Iran, as well as any items that a potential exporting state may determine could contribute to an illicit Iranian nuclear program. Under the deal, a transfer is considered illicit if it does not come through this mechanism.

Iran also can receive uranium as part of a swap of its enriched-uranium stockpile, but any such swap would be declared by Iran and known to other parties in the agreement. Skeptics may argue that Iran is capable of evading sanctions and could similarly evade the rules established in the agreement. Yet, there is some historical evidence indicating that success at evasion should not be assumed. UN Security Council Resolution 1737, adopted in 2006, was the first resolution that prohibited Iran from importing uranium. During the nine years since the adoption of that resolution, although there have been occasional concerns that Iran could obtain uranium or that its partial ownership of a uranium mine in Namibia gives it license to import uranium from that mine, there has not been any verified transfer of uranium to Iran aside from fuel for the Bushehr power reactor.

Assuming that Iran is able to procure the uranium needed to begin its clandestine program, it must be able to modify the uranium into a form useful for weaponization—the second condition that clandestine proliferators must meet. Generally speaking, this means Iran would have to convert the uranium from its raw form into material capable of being enriched or into fuel for a reactor. This step would require the construction of a new, covert uranium-conversion plant.

For the next step, it is most likely that Iran would seek to utilize centrifuge-based uranium enrichment in its covert program. Iran has experience in uranium enrichment with centrifuges and in the covert construction of facilities for such enrichment, albeit with facilities that were exposed long before they ever became operational. In addition, centrifuge plants have fewer detectable signatures than nuclear reactors or spent fuel reprocessing plants.

Covert uranium enrichment would require the construction of a new covert enrichment facility, which is prohibited under the deal with the P5+1, and outfitting with centrifuges. The easiest supply of these is the stockpile of centrifuges removed pursuant to the deal. Fortunately, the deal addresses the possibility of centrifuges being removed from storage, requiring continuous monitoring, including containment and surveillance measures, of Iran’s stored centrifuges and associated components and infrastructure for 15 years. With this kind of monitoring in place, the IAEA would notice any attempt to divert these centrifuges well before a plant could be built.

Instead of taking centrifuges out of its declared centrifuge stockpile, Iran could instead decide to build new centrifuges. To do so, it would need to produce new rotors and bellows for these centrifuges, among other parts and pieces. Because the agreement requires containment and surveillance of the existing inventory of both rotors and bellows for 20 years, Iran would have to produce new centrifuge components using specialized equipment.

Yet, the deal guards against this route as well by requiring Iran to provide a declaration of all locations where centrifuge component production could take place and to permit access to those locations to verify that illicit production is not ongoing. Furthermore, the deal requires Iran to provide access to the flow-forming machines, filament-winding machines, and mandrels that are used for production of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows. This equipment is subject to continuous monitoring, including containment and surveillance. If the equipment were to be diverted or misused, the IAEA would know. This access will persist for 20 years.

In sum, to have a covert enrichment path, Iran would have to have a clandestine supply of uranium, a covert uranium-conversion plant, a covert means of producing centrifuges, and a place to install and operate them. This would require essentially replicating its current enrichment program, which is a costly, complicated, and detectable enterprise.

With respect to the covert-reactor path, there are reactor designs that could permit Iran to maximize plutonium production for use in a covert bomb. One such design is the heavy-water research reactor currently being built at Arak, but under the agreement, it will be modified to produce as little as one-eighth of the annual plutonium output of its present design. It is reasonable to suspect that Iran would seek to build a new heavy-water reactor like the present Arak design, given that it has some experience with it. Yet, Iran’s experience with the construction of the heavy-water reactor at Arak does not give any credence to the notion that such a facility could be constructed without being noticed, due to the long lead time required for construction and fact that the Arak reactor was itself observed long before it was completed, as was the heavy-water production plant located next door.

Reactors themselves require specially designed parts and materials, at least some of which Iran would probably have to procure from non-Iranian sources. In addition, reactors have unique construction signatures that can be spotted with intelligence satellites. It is not impossible to construct a reactor clandestinely—the North Korean-built al Kibar reactor in Syria that was destroyed in 2007 by Israel is a case in point—but it is more difficult. The Israeli ability to spot and destroy the reactor before it was operational supports the idea that even a carefully concealed reactor facility can be stopped before coming online.

Assuming Iran could build a new reactor that produces weapons-grade plutonium, Iran still would have to extract the plutonium from spent fuel. The absence of a spent fuel reprocessing capability in Iran and Iran’s inexperience with spent fuel reprocessing technology make it unlikely that Tehran would seek this path for a covert weapons program. In fact, it could take Iran the full 15 years that the reprocessing and associated spent fuel restrictions of the deal are in place to learn enough about the technology and to construct facilities capable of performing the operation, minimizing its value to Iran while maximizing risk.

As noted above with respect to uranium enrichment, Iran would need to have a way of procuring items that it needs for work on a covert reactor program. To a large extent, the procurement channel established as a result of the deal ought to guard against this. Iran will be prohibited from engaging in any procurement of items especially designed or prepared for nuclear uses without going through the procurement channel. Iran will likewise be prohibited from procuring dual-use items listed by the NSG, as well as any items that a potential exporting state determines could contribute to illicit nuclear activities, unless Tehran obtains these items through the approved channel. Any identified procurement outside the channel would be an immediate red flag once detected. (The issue of undetected nuclear procurements is discussed below.)

Even if Iran obtained illicit uranium, illicit uranium-conversion equipment, and illicit uranium-enrichment equipment and constructed the necessary facilities, it still would not be invulnerable to detection. This points to the last requirement on the list cited above: time. Every day an illicit facility operates is another day for a spy, a wiretap, or a satellite image to catch the proliferator in the act.

The construction and operation of these facilities and their associated activities require time to achieve their desired results; one weapon’s worth of highly enriched uranium (HEU) is not made in a day. A proliferator must have enough time to ensure its facilities fulfill their function. If the proliferator fails to have enough time, it runs the risk of being caught early and having the attempt curtailed by diplomatic action or military strikes. The United States and its partners have thus far detected the Natanz facility, the Arak facilities, and the Fordow facilities before they were completed, without much of the access to be provided under the terms of the comprehensive agreement. Should another such facility be detected, the comprehensive agreement provides yet another tool to address it: required provision of access.

Under the terms of the deal, Iran is required to provide access to undeclared facilities if the IAEA requests such access and suitable alternative arrangements cannot be identified. This requirement is based on the implementation of Iran’s additional protocol, which Iran will begin implementing provisionally when implementation of the deal begins.2

The agreement specifies a process that the IAEA request would set in motion once the agency has learned of a potential covert site or undeclared nuclear-related activities. This process includes the provision of information by the IAEA to Iran on the nature of the suspicions prompting the access request. The request could trigger a 24-day clock under which Iran would provide the requested access or the issue would be sent to the dispute resolution process stipulated in the agreement. Iran could head off a request for access only if four of the eight parties to the agreement—Iran, the P5+1, and the European Union—opposed granting access. Even then, the complaining state could still take up the matter in the dispute resolution process. The end result of that process could be the reimposition, or “snapback,” of UN Security Council, U.S., and EU sanctions and a resumption of the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.

Critics have argued that 24 days is far too much time to grant for this procedure because Iran would be able to use the time to cover up its activities. Olli Heinonen, the former head of the IAEA Department of Safeguards, has cited Iran’s renovation of the Kalaye Electric Company facility in 2003 as proof that Iran can rapidly dispose of the evidence of misdeeds.3 Heinonen noted that, two weeks after the IAEA requested access to the facility, where Iran engaged in undeclared centrifuge experiments, it had been completely renovated, with new floors, walls, and air-handling systems.

The problem with this example is twofold. First, Iran did not have only two weeks to sanitize the facility. The initial public revelation of Iran’s clandestine enrichment program was in August 2002 by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which subsequently identified the location of the Kalaye facility in February 2003. The IAEA was denied access at that time and permitted only limited access in March 2003. In May 2003, the agency gained full access to the facility but without the right to take environmental samples from the site.4 Iran granted permission to do this in early August 2003, at which time inspectors noted that further modifications had been made to the site since March 2003.5 Even under the most liberal of interpretations of the comprehensive agreement, within six months, UN Security Council sanctions would have snapped back against Iran for such behavior.

Second, although six months had passed since the Kalaye facility was first identified publicly, with extensive modifications made to the workshop, traces of enriched uranium still were found in the facility. Heinonen’s own example tends to underscore the likelihood that Iran will not be able to guard against contamination of every room of every facility in which undeclared uranium work takes place if it is carrying out such work. It was probably for this reason that when confronted in 2004 with incriminating evidence about undeclared work at the Lavisan site, Iran decided to destroy the facility completely. Satellite images taken before and after the destruction underscore that Iran was sufficiently concerned about IAEA access and environmental sampling to essentially remove the location from the face of the earth, taking three feet of topsoil with it.6 Iranian sanitization activities at Parchin show a similar dedication to eradicating facilities rather than granting access for fear of what would result.7

Possible Failure Scenarios

Centrifuges found by an International Atomic Energy Agency team in a warehouse near Tuwaitha, Iraq, during the team’s inspections following the 1991 Persian Gulf War are shown in this undated photo. (Action Team 1991-1998 / IAEA)As the preceding section outlines, although a theoretical opportunity exists for Iran to engage in a covert program, the comprehensive agreement was designed to make this opportunity far more difficult than it currently is. If the agreement functions as designed, then a covert program is likely to be detected very early in the process. Iran’s awareness of this risk creates deterrence for a covert path being pursued in the first place.

Scenarios predicting an Iranian covert program assume that having worked hard to achieve a deal with the P5+1, Iran would be prepared to risk the consequences of that deal being torn apart by its actions, consequences that could include sanctions or military action. Although this is conceivable in the event of a near-term, regional security threat to Iran, no such threat exists at present, with the possible exception of Israel. Yet, as the existence of a covert program is one of the most likely prompts for an Israeli military strike, it would not be logical for Iran to tempt fate by engaging in such an activity. It is also possible that detection of a covert site during the deal would provide the impetus for U.S. military action against Iran.

Nevertheless, it is worth considering possible covert-path scenarios to identify potential points of breakdown and to account for the possibility that Iranian decision-making does not follow rational or logical lines. Three scenarios are worth evaluating here: a catastrophic failure of the agreement, the current existence of an undeclared nuclear program in Iran, and the possibility that Iran could seek to acquire nuclear weapons material or an assembled weapon from another state.

Catastrophic failure. It is possible that each individual element of the agreement fails catastrophically. In such a scenario, Iran would be able to obtain the materials and equipment it needs and to do so without being detected by the IAEA or the intelligence apparatus of the United States and those of its partners. In such a scenario, Iran would not be subject to any particular constraints and could engage in a breakout at its leisure.

This is theoretically possible yet difficult. Iran is one of the most watched intelligence targets for the United States, let alone U.S. partners in the region and in Europe. Moreover, past successes in detecting such activities in Iran long before they reached fruition should provide some confidence that the size and scope of what Iran would have to do to make the attempt would lend itself to detection. The access granted under the comprehensive agreement will help matters by assisting analysts in sorting legitimate activities from illicit ones. For example, if Iran were detected procuring goods for an enrichment plant outside the authorized procurement channel, then it would be a rather good bet that the procurement is intended to support a clandestine effort. For intelligence analysts, eliminating legitimate activities as explanations could be very helpful in forming judgments on intent, as well as in establishing priorities for further investigation.

Notably, it would be a challenge for Iran to procure for and construct the relatively large covert program needed during the 10 to 15 years of the main restrictions of the deal.

Existing covert program. Iran may already have a fully constructed covert program and merely be awaiting the removal of sanctions to reveal it. This is theoretically possible but unlikely. Iran has had a difficult enough time sustaining its now-declared program, as has been demonstrated by reports of material shortages in Iran’s nuclear program for several years.

Moreover, asserting the possibility of an existing covert program offers no guidance on handling the deal because such an allegation can never be satisfactorily disproven. Policymakers can act only on what they know and what they have good cause to believe. To do otherwise is to repeat the mistakes of U.S. policy in Iraq in 2003, when it was assumed that the Iraqis must have had a covert program because they were not adequately assisting UN inspectors to demonstrate that no such program existed. With the benefit of hindsight, one can say that there was very little Iraq could have done to prove that something did not exist. The only way out of this conundrum was by offering robust access, which the Iraqis were loath to do. If properly implemented, the comprehensive agreement will remedy this problem in Iran.

Buying a bomb or bomb material. It is also theoretically possible that Iran could contract for its nuclear weapons program by buying a nuclear weapon or the material for one. One such theory postulates that Iran and North Korea, which have a long history of collaboration on ballistic missiles, could collaborate to mutually develop nuclear and missile capabilities, with each providing access to resources that the other cannot. For Iran, this could include the covert acquisition of HEU or plutonium from North Korea.

This scenario is an interesting possibility but, as with an existing covert program, offers nothing by way of guidance for how to interpret the deal. At a minimum, the deal prohibits such transfers, as would Iran’s commitments under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which it joined in 1970.

If one is convinced that Iran would be prepared to undertake such an adventure, there is nothing in the public domain that can provide irrefutable and unambiguous assurance that no such activity would ever be contemplated. One might as easily suggest that Iran could have a nuclear weapon already designed and built, ready to be mounted on a missile tomorrow. It cannot be proved that this has not happened, just that no such activity has been detected and that, circumstantially, it would not make much sense. The same argument could be made about other countries but without proof that it has happened. Policymakers rarely have complete knowledge; they have to make their decisions on the basis of what intelligence reveals and what logic suggests.

From this perspective, the transfer of a nuclear warhead or weapons-grade material would be a risky proposition for all concerned. The transfer could be detected, prompting almost immediate calls for military strikes against Iran at a minimum. The associated signatures of such moves probably would be observed through intelligence channels. Given the existence of the Proliferation Security Initiative—a program launched by President George W. Bush to increase cooperation among states in interdicting transfers of weapons of mass destruction and their materials and components—and the widespread presence of the U.S. Navy and partner navies in the sea lanes between North Korea and Iran, such transfers could be met with a military response of boarding any ship involved.8

As noted above, Iran already has made a commitment not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons, including weaponization-related components, in perpetuity. Iran also has agreed not to seek to obtain uranium or plutonium metal for 15 years. Under such a scenario, it is highly doubtful that there would be any defense of Iran in the international community. Tehran would be inviting attack by pursuing this option. Moreover, there is enough intelligence focus on Iran and North Korea that it is highly speculative to assume that either could pursue such an arrangement without detection.

Finally, this threat does not diminish the value of the deal, except if one assumes that the only way to address the problem is to change the regime. If that is one’s outlook, then it is fair to suggest that the deal is poorly equipped to handle this challenge. In making that argument, however, one would have to explain how any reasonably conceivable deal could prevent that.

The Status Quo

A fair estimate of the value of the comprehensive agreement in addressing the problem of an Iranian covert program must include a comparison to the status quo. There is no comparison possible between the comprehensive agreement and the two most extreme failure scenarios—the existence of a covert program at present and an Iranian purchase of weapons-usable materials or a bomb itself. No deal could definitively address these current threats.

The more interesting point of comparison is the status quo—or, more precisely, the situation that persisted prior to the interim deal of November 2013 because that would likely be the situation in the event of a collapse of the comprehensive agreement—against the risk of a catastrophic failure of the comprehensive agreement.

  • Without the interim and comprehensive deals, Iran’s provision of information on its uranium production would not be required. Iran also would not be required to permit the IAEA to undertake any monitoring activities concerning uranium production.
  • Without the interim and comprehensive deals, Iran would not permit IAEA inventorying, let alone monitoring, of its centrifuge components and the tools for producing more of them.
  • Without the interim and comprehensive deals, Iran would not restrain its production of heavy water and might not restrain research on spent fuel reprocessing or construction of a reprocessing facility. Construction of the Arak reactor would be restarted, giving Iran valuable experience that could be applied to a covert nuclear program.
  • Without the interim and comprehensive deals, there would be no procurement channel monitoring what would come into the country that could aid a covert effort.
  • Without the interim and comprehensive deals, Iran would not be forthcoming with respect to access requests, and skeptics could look back fondly at an opportunity for required access within 24 days. 

Although none of these activities would be permitted as a legal matter under the UN Security Council resolutions adopted prior to July 2015, the entire discussion of a covert program assumes that Iran is not fulfilling its legal or political commitments. Notwithstanding these facts, some opponents would argue that the status quo remains preferable because, without the deal, Iran’s nuclear program would remain largely illegal under the Security Council resolutions. Yet, Iran has not fulfilled its obligations under these resolutions since 2006. Practically, the legal prohibition has had little value in stopping Iran from having a covert program. The deal, on the other hand, does much to prevent such covert efforts.

Similarly, many opponents would argue that without the comprehensive deal, international sanctions would not have been relaxed on Iran, and Iran would find itself under continued economic strain. Yet, there is no compelling evidence that such pressure has precluded covert activities in the past. Moreover, it is precisely such strain that could convince Iran’s leadership that its only opportunity for regime survival is to concentrate on establishing a nuclear deterrent.

The goal of the sanctions, which they achieved, was to bring Iran to the table. Nothing in the last 12 years of negotiating history with Iran suggests that sanctions alone will compel Iranian capitulation.


It is inarguable that a covert path to Iranian nuclear weapons would present the United States and its partners with a tremendous security challenge. It would undermine the terms of the comprehensive agreement and consequently prompt a re-establishment of intense sanctions pressure on Iran, if not military action. Moreover, a covert program could spur additional proliferation in the region and beyond. These are threats Iran would have to anticipate and manage before proceeding with a covert option, probably precluding it.

The agreement is a material improve-ment over the status quo across the board, offering at worst an improved opportunity to detect such activities. In doing so, the agreement will deter Iranian cheating and make succeeding at it a virtually impossible task.

Richard Nephew is a fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was a member of the U.S. negotiating team with Iran and director for Iran at the National Security Council. He served as the Middle East team chief and senior Iran nuclear officer in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the Department of State from 2006 to 2011 and before that as special assistant for nonproliferation policy at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.


1.  “Annex I - Nuclear-Related Measures,” n.d., para. 68, http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/docs/iran_agreement/annex_1_nuclear_related_commitments_en.pdf

2.  The Model Additional Protocol is a nonproliferation agreement developed by the international community after revelations about the extent of clandestine Iraqi nuclear weapons-related work after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. There is a standard format for the additional protocol for all non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). See International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), “Model Additional Protocol to the Agreement(s) Between State(s) and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards,” INFCIRC/540, September 1997.

3.  Bill Gertz, “Ex-IAEA Leader: 24-Day Inspection Delay Will Boost Iranian Nuclear Cheating,” Washington Free Beacon, July 21, 2015, http://freebeacon.com/national-security/ex-iaea-leader-24-day-inspection-delay-will-boost-iranian-nuclear-cheating/

4.  Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), “ISIS Imagery Brief: Kalaye Electric,” March 31, 2005, http://isis-online.org/publications/iran/kalayeelectric.html

5.  IAEA, “Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” August 26, 2003, GOV/2003/63, https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/gov2003-63.pdf.

6.  ISIS, “Nuclear Sites: Lavisan-Shian (Lavizan-Shian),” n.d., http://www.isisnucleariran.org/sites/detail/lavisan-shian/

7.  ISIS, “Nuclear Sites: Parchin,” n.d., http://www.isisnucleariran.org/sites/detail/parchin/

8. Air transfer would present different challenges, given that the air routes would involve flight over China. Yet, it is not in the interest of China to permit nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons material to transit its airspace. If such a transfer were detected, interdiction cooperation from China could be arranged.


Posted: September 2, 2015

Next Steps on Disarmament Uncertain

In the aftermath of a contentious review conference earlier this year, key states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty differ on the best way to pursue disarmament.

By Kingston Reif

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström speaks at the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations on April 27. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)In the aftermath of a contentious review conference earlier this year, key states-parties to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) differ on the best way to pursue disarmament as they look to the UN General Assembly session that opens Sept. 15 and the treaty’s next review conference, in 2020.

The recent review conference ended May 22 without agreement on a final document due to unbridgeable differences over the process for convening a conference on ridding the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, countries clashed over the pace of the nuclear-weapon states’ disarmament efforts. (See ACT, June 2015.)

Although nuclear disarmament was not the “deal breaker” that prevented consensus at the meeting, differences on the issue are “severe and intensifying,” Adam Scheinman, President Barack Obama’s special representative for nuclear nonproliferation, said during a July 16 panel discussion at the U.S. State Department.

Speaking on the same panel, Alexander Kmentt, director of disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation in the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, said that the longer the negotiations on disarmament at the review conference went on, the deeper the divide became.

The conference’s draft final document did not represent “anything close” to a consensus, he said.

Scheinman said countries can take a number of steps before the 2020 review conference. For example, he emphasized the importance of finding a way to bring Russia back to the negotiating table on arms control although he did not suggest how that might be possible in light of U.S.-Russian tensions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and alleged violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

In addition, Scheinman urged the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva to begin negotiations on a global ban on the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons, which has effectively been blocked by Pakistan (see, "UN Disarmament Body Still Stalemated"). Scheinman said it would not be possible to move toward much lower numbers of nuclear weapons without a verified cap on fissile material production.

He also called for the development of better lines of communication on nuclear disarmament issues between nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states as a way to bridge some of the gaps that persist. He specifically mentioned the possible creation by the UN General Assembly of “an open-ended working group”—a forum in which all UN members can participate—as a “first-order opportunity to have a serious dialogue among the various parties.”

Scheinman expressed hope that there would be progress “quite soon” on the steps he listed.

The U.S. State Department’s Adam Scheinman (left) and Alexander Kmentt of the Austrian foreign ministry (right) discuss the recent NPT review conference during a July 16 panel of the Generation Prague conference at the State Department. At center is moderator Sharon Squassoni of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)The working group was a recommendation in the draft final document from the NPT review conference. According to the document, the purpose of the working group would be “to identify effective measures for the full implementation of Article VI” of the NPT and to do so on the basis of consensus. Under Article VI, the treaty parties are to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

The General Assembly last established an open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament in 2012. (See ACT, December 2012.) In that group, which met in Geneva in August 2013, about 80 states discussed ways to advance multilateral disarmament negotiations, but the nuclear-weapon states declined to participate. The group produced a final report that summarized the content of the discussion.

Kmentt questioned the approach touted by Scheinman, noting that disarmament steps such as a fissile material cutoff treaty have been on the international agenda for nearly two decades, but no progress has been made. He called such a step-by-step approach “extremely incredible” and said it has been “discredited.”

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, also criticized the step-by-step approach and expressed skepticism about the idea of an open-ended working group.

In an Aug. 19 e-mail to Arms Control Today, she called the idea of a working group based on consensus “useless” and said the states seeking faster disarmament progress are not pushing this idea.

Fihn said the main issue at the UN General Assembly will be how the 114 signatories of the “Humanitarian Pledge” will seek to take action to fill this gap. The document, which originated at the third conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons use, held in Vienna last December, calls on states “to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons.” (See ACT, January/February 2015.)

Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies said in an Aug. 19 interview that it would be “interesting to watch” if an open-ended working group is established at the upcoming General Assembly meeting and if the humanitarian initiative’s leaders, such as Austria, Mexico, and Norway, are able to move the disarmament discussion beyond where it ended at the review conference.

Mukhatzhanova said that the diplomats representing the leading countries of the humanitarian movement are “regrouping.” It is unclear what they will do to advance their agenda at the General Assembly and if they will seek to hold a fourth humanitarian-impact conference, she said. 

Posted: September 2, 2015

Reading the Nuclear Politics in Tehran

Much of the rhetoric of Iranian officials on the nuclear deal has been misunderstood in the West. 

By Ariane Tabatabai

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (bottom) speaks in the parliament in Tehran on July 21 below a portrait of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Zarif was defending the agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program that Iran and six world powers concluded on July 14. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)Iran’s domestic politics and power structure have been a source of puzzlement and conjecture since the country’s 1979 revolution, which toppled a U.S. ally and brought the Islamic Republic to power. This bewilderment intensified during the nuclear negotiations between six world powers collectively known as the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Tehran.

Throughout the negotiations, many observers speculated about the Iranian perceptions of the emerging deal and how these perceptions would shape the future of the diplomatic process and the agreement’s implementation. In particular, the many statements of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were dissected in attempts to determine whether Iran would accept certain restrictions or stop the negotiations.1 In spite of the time and energy devoted to these analyses, many of Tehran’s signals were misinterpreted throughout the process.

Today, similar questions have arisen with regard to Iran’s intentions and ability to implement the comprehensive deal reached in Vienna in July. A key issue is whether domestic politics in Iran will allow the government to uphold its end of the bargain. This article provides a partial response to that question by analyzing the Iranian establishment’s attitude toward the P5+1 process from the beginning of the negotiations to the conclusion of the comprehensive deal.

Supreme Politician

To be sure, Khamenei is the final decision-maker in Iranian foreign policy and domestic politics. Yet, he is not the sole decision-maker in Iran. Furthermore, he tries to stay above politics. This important distinction is often lost in the United States, where the perception is that there are no checks and balances in the Islamic Republic. There are several centers of power within the regime’s structure, all of which have their own decision-making processes, interests, and drivers.

Khamenei and his office are the most opaque components of the regime, along with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Khamenei’s job description includes frequent comments and statements on social, political, and strategic affairs. He appears in various forums several times a month, including at Friday prayers, where, in addition to leading the prayer, he often makes comments on the most pressing issues on Iran’s social and political agenda.

For instance, in June 2009, he used the Friday prayer as a platform to issue an ultimatum and authorize the crackdown on hundreds of thousands of protesters opposing what they denounced as the fraudulent re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.2 This event was a turning point for Khamenei’s decision-making. It led to the greatest crisis in the Islamic Republic’s history, including a broad questioning of the legitimacy of the office of supreme leader and of Khamenei’s legitimacy to hold the office. This crisis led Khamenei and his advisers to re-evaluate their approach to elections in the following cycle.

This reality check was part of the impetus behind the victory of Hassan Rouhani in the 2013 presidential elections. Indeed, many analysts in Iran and the West suspected that Khamenei would facilitate another fraudulent election, favoring his preferred candidate, Saeed Jalili, a hard-liner who had been a nuclear negotiator under Ahmadinejad.3 Yet, the election of Rouhani proved that Khamenei was no longer willing to ignore the wishes of the people and risk his own position when he could take a less dangerous path by assuaging the populace and securing the regime.

The most important topic during the elections was that of the nuclear crisis and how to solve it. It was clear that if Khamenei backed Jalili, blocking Rouhani from being elected, he would be endorsing Jalili’s method of negotiating: the all-or-nothing approach. Instead, with Rouhani now in power, the supreme leader was ready to play by Rouhani’s rules: acknowledgement of the need to make concessions, such as accepting limitations on the nuclear program. Throughout the process, Khamenei intervened to set limits on just how far the negotiators could go and where they could make concessions.4

Despite being interpreted by some as definitive and strict redlines, most of Khamenei’s interventions on the nuclear issue were in fact fairly moderate. Virtually every one of his statements on the nuclear negotiations was viewed in the United States as designed to derail the process. Yet, a careful reading of Iranian political culture and the Islamic Republic’s political dynamics and structure indicates that he was trying to position himself to stand to win regardless of the outcome of the talks while helping the negotiations.

Khamenei’s position on the nuclear issue has been driven by a number of factors. First, his mandate is to secure the survival of the Islamic Republic. To this end, he must identify and work toward regime interests. Therefore, in crucial periods, Khamenei has endorsed what the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary ideology opposes: working with the United States. This has consistently been the case when national security and, by extension, regime survival, have been at stake in Afghanistan, in Iraq against the Islamic State, and today with regard to the nuclear issue. Hence, when national security and revolutionary ideology have been at odds, the regime has actually privileged the former.

This, in turn, is due to the second factor: that there can be no regime without a country. Hence, the supreme leader needs to take national interests into consideration and pursue them. In the past decade, economic and political pressure, increased isolation, and the threat of war all have put the country in a vulnerable position, which contributed to Tehran’s decision to come to the negotiating table.

A third factor is the personal interests that Khamenei has at stake. He has successfully sought to position himself in a way that guarantees he will remain unchallenged, regardless of the outcome of the talks.

From the beginning, Khamenei cautiously backed the negotiations and the negotiating team, commenting that although the United States could not be trusted, he trusted the negotiators to preserve national security, pursue national interests, and maintain the country’s dignity and accomplishments.5 This cautious endorsement is an indication of how Khamenei had to position himself within the domestic political landscape. Despite adhering to a fairly hard line on a number of issues, Khamenei has in fact been a moderating agent in the negotiating process.

Contrary to the widely held perception outside Iran, the supreme leader does not always intervene in all matters relating to foreign policy. His vision certainly informs the country’s strategy beyond Iran’s borders, but on an operational level, what Tehran does is the prerogative of the elected government. This means that the government, chiefly the foreign ministry, typically manages the country’s foreign policy issues, excluding those that are handled by the IRGC, namely Iran’s activities in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East.

The nuclear issue was an exception to this rule; Khamenei was intimately involved in the talks. He “supervised” the process, and his redlines were Iran’s national bottom lines. The entire security and political establishment, as well as much of the Iranian populace, supported the idea that Tehran should make concessions but without stopping its enrichment program, curtailing its ability to conduct research and development, granting inspection rights to its nonmilitary facilities, or providing access to its scientists.6 Khamenei had a direct channel to the negotiators and frequently provided his input on what was on the table. In rare instances, he delivered the input publicly. That was the case on key issues such as inspection of military sites and interviews with nuclear scientists.7 

Misunderstanding the Corps

A man flashes the victory sign in front the Iranian national flag during a celebration in Tehran on July 14 after the nuclear deal was announced. Under the agreement, sanctions on Iran would be lifted in return for certain restrictions on and monitoring of the country’s nuclear program. (Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images)The IRGC, much like its commander in chief, the supreme leader, is often misunderstood in the United States. Its role in the nuclear program and negotiations has been oversimplified and exaggerated.

The IRGC’s role in the program and talks is determined by a number of conflicting interests. First, although there has been a great deal of speculation on the IRGC’s role in the nuclear program, there is little concrete knowledge of the extent of this involvement. It is clear, however, that the IRGC has played and continues to play a role in the nuclear program and would essentially have custody of a nuclear arsenal if Iran acquired one.8

Certain other aspects of the connection between the IRGC and the Iranian nuclear program also are clear. First, the IRGC has played a very active role in developing the Iranian missile program. Second, the IRGC has managed to fill the vacuum left by foreign companies in Iran’s economy. The combination of the Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, and the nuclear crisis led an Iran in need of redevelopment to be isolated and under backbreaking sanctions. With foreign companies increasingly reluctant to do business in Iran, the country had to find a way to redevelop its economy and infrastructure. The IRGC stepped in. As a result of its ability to capitalize on the isolation and sanctions put in place, the corps now owns a large percentage of the national economy, with hands in many different fields. This means that the IRGC could actually stand to lose from sanctions.

Indeed, with the country open for business again, foreign companies will create serious competition for the IRGC. Many in the political elite have indicated their willingness to minimize IRGC involvement in all political and economic spheres. So far, however, their ability to pursue this policy has been limited, given that the country could rely only on the IRGC and the black market to fill the vacuum left by foreign companies. Today, with the economy opening up, steps can be taken to address this. Despite standing to lose some ground from the change in the Iranian political and economic ecosystem, the IRGC has generally followed Khamenei, positioning itself relatively moderately. IRGC commanders also have cautiously backed the negotiations and stated that they believe the negotiating team has only the best interests of the country at heart.9

In some cases, the IRGC and Khamenei have balanced each other. For instance, on one occasion when Khamenei gave a resounding endorsement of the negotiating team, the IRGC cautiously backed it. The following time, they reversed these roles, with a more cautious endorsement from Khamenei and a resounding one from the IRGC. Hence, both the supreme leader and the IRGC have tried to position themselves above politics in a way that would allow them to use the outcome of the negotiations to consolidate their power. At the same time, they have tried to guide the process to obtain what they view as the optimal result, with more gains on sanctions relief and fewer concessions on the nuclear program.

There has been a notable exception to the guards’ general support for the deal. General Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij milita, has sharply criticized the deal. Naqdi questioned the intentions of the world powers, saying that the nuclear issue was an excuse “covering an underlying truth.” He claimed that “[the facts that] the foreign ministers of seven countries did not move for nine days and nights in Lausanne, or the U.S. Secretary of State[’s] presen[ce] in the negotiations for 20 nights and days with a broken leg” prove that something beyond the nuclear issue was at stake. He further stated that the answer to Iran’s economic problems is a “resistance economy not a borrowed economy.”10 Unlike the more mainstream members of the IRGC, the Basij have been generally more critical of the negotiations and the deal. Yet, the Basij is renowned for its loyalty to its commander in chief, Khamenei. Hence, while being generally more critical, its members have not been as vocal as an organization on the matter as other groups and are unlikely to have an impact on the implementation of the deal. 

Opposition From the Majlis

The Iranian parliament, the Majlis, has posed the greatest challenge to the talks. It has often mirrored the U.S. Congress, in part by seeking to gain more power over the process of reaching and implementing a deal. The hard-line position on the process has not been limited to conservative legislators; it has cut across the different traditional political leanings. To be sure, reformists and moderates have thrown their support behind Rouhani’s moderate agenda, but some have been critical of the process.

Much like opponents of the deal in Congress, those in the Majlis have different interests and are driven by different views. Some profoundly distrust the United States and fundamentally reject engagement with the West in much the same way that some in Congress oppose even sitting at the table with Tehran. Other members of the Majlis believe that any concession is too much. Still others were in Ahmadinejad’s camp and want to deny Rouhani a foreign policy victory of this magnitude, just as many Republicans in Congress, driven by domestic politics and their opposition to the administration of President Barack Obama, do not want him to have this foreign policy victory.

In other words, the Iranian domestic opposition to the nuclear negotiations stems from a number of factors and cannot be oversimplified and attributed to a single factor. The opponents have been very vocal, but are in fact a small minority of the Iranian population. Yet, the level of influence of these groups and the pressure they have exerted on the negotiators cannot be underestimated. Although it is a small group, some individuals within the group have considerable influence.

Ultimately, the Majlis found itself limited in its ability to influence the talks. Hence, its members exerted pressure on the Rouhani government by taking the fight outside the nuclear realm, for instance, by impeaching ministers. Such actions indicate that the legislators are trying to limit the government’s ability to maneuver and place obstacles in its way to stop it from implementing its agenda. In this case, these tactics were designed to weaken and put pressure on the Rouhani government.

Khamenei intervened a number of times after hard-line newspapers attacked the negotiating team. In doing so, he decreased the pressure on the team, facilitating its efforts conclude a deal. This in turn reinforced the idea that regardless of their efforts, critics of a deal would not be able to fundamentally shift what appears to be a national consensus and establishment decision to negotiate with the world powers and to do so with the intent to reach a deal. The Majlis managed to acquire the ability to supervise the process by regularly summoning Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and passing legislation expanding its powers to oversee the negotiations. Yet, in spite of the rhetoric of some of its members,11 the Majlis did not actually attempt to derail the negotiations altogether. A significant announcement made by Speaker Ali Larijani in the aftermath of the deal, praising the negotiating team’s efforts, encapsulated the idea that the Majlis would stand behind the deal.12

As the process continues into its implementation phase, the Majlis will continue to weigh in. Yet, it is unlikely to take action to stop the implementation process unless the P5+1 is seen as failing to live up to its end of the bargain. 

Popular Support

The vast majority of Iranians support a negotiated solution to the issue of the nuclear program.13 This is because virtually every aspect of Iranian public and private life has been affected by the nuclear crisis: the threats to national security, including the looming threat of overt military conflict; economic hardship resulting from sanctions; the tightening of space for political reforms; and the inability to push for improvement on human rights because of the threat of war. If the vast majority of Iranians have been following the details of the talks, it is not because they care about their uranium-enrichment capacity. Instead, they see the nuclear issue as an obstacle to the normalization of their lives and the country’s economy and international status.

The support for the negotiators, the popularity of Zarif, and the nationwide celebrations of the 2013 interim deal and the recent comprehensive deal certainly strengthened the negotiators’ hands domestically. This means that while facing harsh criticism at home from some quarters, the negotiators could say that they benefited from the population’s general support for their efforts.

The conventional Western wisdom on Iranian politics is that the people’s views on issues do not matter. There is an element of truth to that view because the supreme leader, the ultimate decision-maker, is not an elected official. He is supposed to be above politics and a “neutral” figure in Iranian politics. Yet, domestic politics can and do influence decision-making. As noted previously, Khamenei learned in 2009 that going against the popular will could come at a cost for him. In 2009, that was a blow to his legitimacy and that of the regime more generally. In 2013, defying public opinion could have led to a deepened crisis of legitimacy and an increased weakening of the very foundations of the Islamic Republic.

The Majlis represents the people. Nevertheless, in some cases, including this one, members of the Majlis do not reflect the views of their constituencies. Ultimately, however, the members also know that, in order to be re-elected, they can only go so far in their opposition to something the majority of the population really wants.

All this is not to say that there has not been any opposition to the negotiations and the deal. The Delvapassan, or “Worried,” movement, as it has come to be known, has made headlines throughout the process, criticizing the negotiations and urging the team not to make concessions on the country’s technological and scientific achievements. Members of the movement were often subtly invited to quiet down by Khamenei’s endorsements of the process. In those statements, Khamenei always presented Zarif’s team as driven by national interests.

More recently, the government shut down an ultraconservative weekly paper, 9th Dey, for criticizing the deal. At the same time, Rouhani has described social media, including Twitter and Facebook, banned in Iran since 2009, as helpful tools for young people eager to express their support for the negotiations.14

The Way Ahead

In the coming months, a number of domestic events will occur in parallel with the implementation of the comprehensive deal. First and foremost, the Majlis elections, scheduled to take place on February 25, will be decisive for the Rouhani government. The Majlis continues to want to play a role and supervise the process. As was the case throughout the negotiations, however, it is unlikely to do much to disturb the process even if it shifts more to the right as a result of the elections. Nevertheless, it could exert more pressure on the government through other means, as it did during the negotiations.

Iran is expected to voluntarily implement an additional protocol to its comprehensive safeguards agreement, providing the International Atomic Energy Agency with the authority to monitor the country’s facilities more closely. The Majlis, however, has yet to ratify it, which would make its provisions permanent and legally binding. Under the comprehensive deal, Iran must “seek [the protocol’s] ratification and entry into force consistent with the respective roles of the President and Majlis.” Tehran voluntarily implemented the protocol from 2003 to 2005, but stopped implementing it when the previous round of negotiations failed. The ratification step will be crucial to ensure that Iran continues to implement the protocol after the expiration of the various constraints imposed by the deal.

After the parliamentary elections, the next big event in Iranian politics is the presidential election, scheduled for mid-2017. By then, many of the issues directly related to the nuclear issue should be solved. Given the eight- to 25-year provisions in the deal, however, a number of events are worth noting. These include the redesign of the Arak heavy-water reactor, which involves removing the core, destroying it or shipping it to another country, and replacing it with a core that would produce less plutonium; the conversion of the Fordow enrichment site into a research center; and the reduction of the country’s stockpile of 10,000 kilograms of enriched uranium to 300 kilograms.

The Rouhani government will likely point to the nuclear deal as the flagship success of its first term and seek re-election for a second four-year term, the last for which it will be eligible. A potential complication for the successful implementation of the deal lies in the much-debated health of Khamenei and the choice of his successor. This could translate into tremendous change in the very foundations of the Islamic Republic. For this reason, the upcoming years will be vital to the long-term viability of the deal. If the deal is implemented without major complications and Tehran receives what it sees as its due under the deal without feeling vulnerable to military attacks from other countries in the next few years, future changes in the country’s politics and political structure are less likely to have a tremendous impact on the future of the implementation of the deal.

Thus, it is important to put the deal in place quickly and smoothly, to the extent possible, to make sure it is locked in before Khamenei passes from the scene. This will ensure that the deal is implemented efficiently throughout the political transition to his successor. In principle, once the implementation of the deal begins and the first key stages—the redesign of the Arak reactor, the conversion of the Fordow enrichment facility, and the initial phases of sanctions relief—are completed, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the foreign ministry will be in charge of the file, and the supreme leader’s office and the Majlis will no longer be watching it as closely.

One development that would draw the attention of the supreme leader, the IRGC, and the Majlis would be any covert action against Iran’s program while the deal is being implemented, even if such action is undertaken by a country that is not bound by the agreement. In the meantime, Khamenei, the IRGC, the Majlis, and others will continue to make statements.

It is important not to get caught up in their rhetoric, but to pay attention to what Iran is actually doing. The distinction between rhetoric and policy is crucial in understanding Iranian intentions and actions. In the sensitive stages of early implementation of the nuclear deal, reading Tehran properly will be more important than ever.

Ariane Tabatabai is a visiting assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and is a columnist for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Previously, she was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow and an associate at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.


1. Ray Takeyh, “Iran Poised to Choose Poverty Over Nuclear Disarmament,” The Washington Post, October 31, 2014; Julian Borger, “Did the Supreme Leader Just Torpedo the Nuclear Talks?” The Guardian, June 24, 2015; Thomas Erdbrink and David Sanger, “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, Seems to Pull Back on Nuclear Talks,” The New York Times, June 23, 2015.

2. “Khotbeha-ye namaz-e Jomeh-ye Tehran,” Khamenei.ir, June 19, 2009, http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=7190 (in Persian).

3. Mark Dubowitz, “Iran Has a Presidential Selection, Not an Election,” The Atlantic, June 14, 2013.

4. “‘Khotut-e ghermez-e mozakereh’ az didgah-e rahbar-e enghelab dar didar-e karshenasan-e sazman-e energy-e atomi,” Fars News, April 14, 2014, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13930125000961 (in Persian).

5. “Bayanat dar didar-e jamee az farmandehan va karkonan-e niroo-ye havayi,” Khamenei.ir, February 8, 2015, http://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=28896 (in Persian).

6. The refusal to allow inspection of military sites should not to be confused with the issue of “managed access”—opening certain, less-sensitive sections of the facilities to inspectors—which was open for discussion.

7. Ariane Tabatabai, “Interview: Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Ravanchi,” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 30, 2015.

8. Anthony Cordesman and Adam Seitz, “Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction: Doctrine, Policy and Command,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 12, 2009.

9. Annie Tracy Samuel, “Revolutionary Guard Is Cautiously Open to Nuclear Deal,” Belfer Center Iran Matters, December 20, 2013, http://iranmatters.belfercenter.org/blog/iran’s-revolution-guard-and-nuclear-deal; “Agar mozakerat Enshallah be natije beresad hame khahand did ke ma az hoghough-eman kootah nayamadeim,” Tasnim, November 14, 2014 (in Persian).

10. “Naqdi: Resistance Economy Is the Way Around Problems, Not Borrowed Economy,” Fars News, August 11, 2015, http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13940520000202 (in Persian).

11. Kelsey Davenport, “Bill Allowing Vote on Iran Deal Approved,Arms Control Today, June 2015.

12. “Larijani: Tavafogh-e hasteyi joz-e dastarvardha-ye melli ast,” Asr-e Iran, July 23, 2015, http://www.asriran.com/fa/news/407455/ (in Persian).

13. Wilfred Chan and Mitra Mobasherat, “From Social Media to the Streets, Iranians Erupt With Joy After Nuclear Deal,” CNN, April 3, 2015; Saeed Kamali Dehghan, “Iranians Celebrate Nuclear Deal: ‘This Will Bring Hope to Our Life,’” The Guardian, April 2, 2015; “Many Iranians Celebrate Nuclear Deal As Opening to the West,” NPR, July 14, 2015.

14. Hassan Rouhani, interview with Iranian State Media, Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, August 2, 2015 (in Persian). 

Posted: September 2, 2015


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