Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Saving the Iran Nuclear Deal Requires Balancing it

It has become increasingly evident that restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal, is extremely challenging without ensuring its durability. Several years after Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and began pursuing a maximum pressure campaign against Iran, and Tehran retaliated by accelerating and expanding its nuclear program, policymakers in Washington and Tehran must ensure that the deal, once revived, remains in force for all its parties over its entire duration. While some politicians call for intensifying economic pressure and military threats against Iran to bring it into conformity with U.S. objectives, these tools have proven to be counterproductive and dangerously escalating. Rather, the best solution lies in strengthening the JCPOA in a manner that would minimize the possibility of defection by the parties.

It is no secret that the JCPOA’s enforcement mechanisms and overall costs and benefits are distorted, but what is less recognized is that the JCPOA’s built-in imbalance is undermining U.S. interests and nuclear nonproliferation goals. By far the most notable manifestation of this imbalance is the agreement’s failure to establish mutual legal and political deterrence between Iran and the United States with respect to violating the agreement or quitting it altogether. Instead, the JCPOA constructed one-sided deterrence against Iran by threatening the snapback of multilateral and unilateral sanctions against it and automatically triggering its referral to the UN Security Council, should it violate the agreement or withdraw from it. Continue reading on The National Interest or Foreign Policy In Focus


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