20 Items

President Trump signs an Executive Order in Bedminster, New Jersey, entitled “Reimposing Certain Sanctions with Respect to Iran.”

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

Analysis & Opinions - Responsible Statecraft

The JCPOA at 5: How the U.S. squandered an unprecedented diplomatic opening with Iran

| July 19, 2020

Why are governments willing to invest more time in sanctions and war than they do in diplomacy? I pondered this question as the five-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran nuclear deal, passed last week. What would relations between the United States and Iran look like had diplomacy been given its due, and the Iran deal honoured for longer?   

This photo released Thursday, July 2, 2020, by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran shows a building after it was damaged by a fire at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of Tehran. 

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Explosion at Natanz: Why Sabotaging Iran’s Nuclear Program Could Backfire

| July 15, 2020

An explosion and fire at a workshop at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility on July 2, which destroyed the better part of an entire building, was followed by a flurry of speculation about the cause. Perhaps a domestic dissident group had planted a bomb, a foreign government had conducted a cyberattack, or an underground gas pipeline simply exploded by accident. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization announced on July 5 that it had determined the cause, but was withholding that information because of “security considerations.” Still, there is mounting circumstantial evidence that Israel and the United States were involved in what was a deliberate act of sabotage.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a session of parliament in Tehran on Sept. 3 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi).

AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

How to Make a Lasting Deal With Iran

| Sep. 07, 2019

Despite the Trump administration’s assertions, it is increasingly clear that the maximum pressure approach deployed to force Iran to temper its behavior in the Middle East is not working. Iran has allegedly engaged in provocations in the Persian Gulf and has taken concrete steps to scale back its commitments to enrichment limitations under the 2015 nuclear deal. Meanwhile, it hasn’t limited its missile program and has doubled down on its reliance on nonstate actors throughout the region.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence, holds up a signed executive order to increase sanctions on Iran on June 24.

Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Deescalation Wanted: How Trump Can Steer Clear of a War

| June 26, 2019

The United States and Iran have engaged in a constant raising of the stakes as a means of securing leverage ahead of possible nuclear negotiations. This is a classic bargaining pattern but in the current context, such an approach is particularly risky due to the potential for misperceptions. The complexities of domestic and regional dynamics are also a factor. In such a situation, absent clear understanding of the other’s motivations and tactics, raising the stakes—rather than securing leverage for effective negotiations—could steer the United States and Iran towards a path toward war.

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron hold hands during a State Arrival Ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House. April 24, 2018 (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press).

Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - Al-Monitor

Why Europe Could End Up Being Blamed for Nuclear Deal Collapse

| May 07, 2018

The recent visits to Washington by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were in all likelihood the last chance for Europeans to convince President Donald Trump not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. With prospects for winning over Trump fading as the May 12 deadline for sanctions waivers approaches, one might argue that US allies in Europe have lost sight of the prize in the process of appeasing him. Indeed, rather than exclusively focusing on addressing Trump’s stated concerns about the deal, which probably cannot be satisfied anyway, France, Germany and the UK, known as the E3, would serve their interests better by laying out alternative strategies for protecting trade between Iran and the European Union should the United States withdraw.