July 14, 2016

What Does the Iran Deal Mean for Nuclear Nonproliferation?

Today marks the the one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal signing. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has complied with its initial obligations of reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and undertaking revisions of its nuclear facilities. But what has the deal meant for nuclear nonproliferation? Career ambassadors Thomas Pickering and James F. Jeffrey weigh in.


Thomas Pickering, former US Ambassador to Israel, Russia, and the United Nations:

"It's a good agreement. I think it sets some interesting standards that could be pluralized for further steps to improve the nonproliferation regime. But like everybody else, it will all depend upon whether Iran continues to comply. So far I think they have, as Jim has pointed out. And I think that's a good sign. But we obviously all are cautious about that—Iran's behavior, what it has been in the past, being a difficult indicator of what I would call consistent full compliance."

James F. Jeffrey, former US Ambassador to Albania, Iraq, and Turkey:

"In terms of garden-variety nonproliferation—and that's an important field, as Tom Pickering said—this agreement sets standards and will provide an incentive for other countries that are in that gray area to adapt to international standards, and that's all for the good. But in the terms of critical nonproliferation issues, previously the Iraqs of the world, up until recently and still in the future, Iran and North Korea. These are all one-off countries, with one-off motives for obtaining nuclear weapons or threatening to obtain nuclear weapons, that are related to their role in the world. I don't see this agreement necessarily having much of an impact on other countries. It will have an impact on Iran. We don't know exactly what, but that will be important."

To hear more from ambassadors Jeffrey and Pickering, watch video from our June 27 event, "The Iran Deal: A Reassessment." 


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