One year after the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, the future of the US-Iran relationship remains unclear. Weighing in on whether the deal has led to a lasting shift are career ambassadors Thomas Pickering and James F. Jeffrey who spoke at the Council's June 27 event, "The Iran Deal: A Reassessment."
James F. Jeffrey, former US Ambassador to Albania, Iraq, and Turkey
It's changed it in several ways. First of all, there is a better level of communication between the two. Even though I'm, by profession, a retired diplomat, I don't see that as a be all and end all of international relations or foreign policy. But it is in and of itself a good thing. Secondly, Iran as a country—I'm quoting Henry Kissinger here, Iran has to decide whether it's a cause or a country....As a country, an argument to participate, at least partially, in the international system, that doesn't end all of our—necessarily end—all of our problems with Iran. China and Russia are major participants in the international system and we have even greater status quo problems with them. But it can move it a little bit in that direction.
Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to Israel, Russia, and the United Nations
We've probably had more communication with Iran in the last two years than we have had in the last 100 years. But certainly in the period since the Iranian revolution in '78 and '79, when we had almost no communication. And while communication, in itself, is not the answer to all the problems, the absence of communication makes problem-solving a lot more difficult.