Journal Article - Washington Quarterly

The Fool's Errand for a Perfect Deal with Iran

| Fall 2014

After months of optimistic statements from negotiators, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) and Iran still have not achieved a comprehensive agreement to resolve the nuclear dispute. However, the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPA) is—at this writing—still in force and both sides maintain that a comprehensive deal remains within reach.

In reality, however, the negotiations have made limited overall progress. The two sides appear to have narrowed some seemingly intractable differences, most notably on Iran's IR-40 research reactor, which the United States and its allies have maintained could produce plutonium for a weapons program. Specifically, Iran has stated its readiness to make technical changes to the reactor's design that would reduce the amount of plutonium it can produce.1 However, they have failed to resolve many of their most important differences. Moreover, both sides remain so far apart on these issues that it appears unlikely they could reach an accord to resolve them.

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1 Rick Gladstone, "Iran Altering Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal," New York Times, August 27, 2014,   

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For Academic Citation: Fikenscher, Sven-Eric and Robert J. Reardon. The Fool's Errand for a Perfect Deal with Iran.” Washington Quarterly, vol. 37. no. 3. (Fall 2014):

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