- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Decoding the Iran Nuclear Agreement for Leaders in Washington and Beyond

| Summer 2015

As one of the most far-reaching accords in recent memory, the framework agreement reached by P5+1 and Iranian negotiators over Tehran’s nuclear program in Switzerland on April 2 generated no shortage of opinions from pundits. Balanced, in-depth assessments were scarcer.

Determined to help serious minds in Washington and elsewhere make sense of an agreement that is as technical as it is political, the Belfer Center produced a definitive guide to examine key questions, points of divergence, pros and cons, pending legislation, and essential facts.

Edited by Gary Samore, the center’s executive director for research, Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal brought together the insights of a diverse panel of experts including Graham Allison, Matthew Bunn, Nicholas Burns, Shai Feldman, Chuck Freilich, Olli Heinonen, Martin Malin, Payam Mohseni, Laura Rockwood, James Sebenius, Steven Miller, and William Tobey.

Targeting leaders in Washington, where copies of the 60-page report were delivered days after the news broke, the report’s pros and cons address the very questions members of Congress are asking themselves. For example: Is the framework nuclear agreement with Iran a good deal? Why should the U.S. expect Iran to comply with the deal? How will America know if Tehran cheats? If this deal is not a “good deal,” why not walk away and ratchet up sanctions to compel Iran to accept a better deal?

Of particular interest to policymakers is the report’s detailed comparison of the summary documents published by both Tehran and Washington in the wake of the accord. The differences apparent in the “fine print” underscore the difficulty facing negotiators during the final drafting phase­—and the intensity of congressional scrutiny.

Based on demand from policy leaders and analysts, Belfer Center experts are planning follow-up briefings in Washington this June.


The complete Decoding the Iran Nuclear Deal handbook is available here.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Burek, Josh. Decoding the Iran Nuclear Agreement for Leaders in Washington and Beyond.” Belfer Center Newsletter (Summer 2015).

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