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." 


The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.


| By Michael H. Moskow

Michael H. Moskow on 'American Hero' Paul Volcker

Paul A. Volcker, chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, died earlier this week. The Council's Michael H. Moskow shares his insights on why Volcker is an 'American hero' for his work in monetary policy and public service.

Wait Just a Minute: Elisabeth Braw on Cyber Warfare

Elisabeth Braw, director of the Royal United Services Institute’s Modern Deterrence Project, takes a minute to examine which countries are best at cybersecurity and whether a cyberattack is an act of war.

| By Sushant Singh, Paul Staniland, Brian Hanson

Deep Dish: Which Side Will India Take in US-China Rivalry?

A centerpiece of US strategy during the Trump administration has been the idea of the "Indo-Pacific," a massive single region stretching across both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. One of the goals in this strategy is to link up India with US allies in East Asia as a counterbalance to a rising China.

Wait Just a Minute: Kathryn Koob

Kathryn Koob, a former American Embassy employee held hostage in Iran, takes a minute to answer questions about Tehran in 1979, what helped her most during her 444 days of captivity, and her advice for future diplomats on the 40th anniversary of the US Embassy hostage crisis.