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Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

How China Compares Internationally in New GDP Figures

| May 31, 2020

The World Bank on May 19, as it does every six years, released the results of the most recent International Comparison Program (ICP), which measures price levels and GDPs across 176 countries.  The new results are striking.  It is surprising that they have received almost no attention so far, perhaps overshadowed by all things coronavirus.

For the first time, the ICP shows China’s total real income as slightly larger than the US.  It reports that China’s GDP was $19,617 billion in 2017, in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms, while the United States’ GDP stood at $19,519 billion.

Blog Post - Views on the Economy and the World

Let’s Go Back to Good Old Tariff-Cutting

| Dec. 02, 2019

The “bicycle theory” used to be a metaphor for international trade policy.  Just as standing still on a bicycle is not an option — one has to keep moving forward or else the bike will fall over – so it was said that international trade negotiators must continue to engage in successive rounds of liberalization, or else the open global trading system would be pulled down by protectionist interests.  I don’t know if the theory was ever right.  (And, to be honest, I don’t entirely understand why forward movement keeps a bicycle from falling over.)  But if we had stood still on trade policy over the last three years we would be a lot better off than where we are now.

Rouhani and Salehi outside the Bushehr Nuclear Plant

Tasnim News

Blog Post - iran-matters

An Iranian Nuclear Business Deal for Trump

    Author:
  • Sayed Hossein Mousavian
| Nov. 01, 2017

As the world’s largest nuclear facilities operators, U.S. corporations understand all aspects of nuclear programs. Employing those same corporations to partner and collaborate with Iran on nuclear projects would be a major confidence-building step that would secure trust between the two sides after the sunset provisions of the deal expire. The people of Iran and the United States have never been enemies. Now is the time to seek a legitimate business-based compromise that can allow the United States and Iran to fully execute the JCPOA in full compliance with both the substance and intent of each of the deal’s signatories while pursing the long-term goal of eliminating the growth and proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism. To this end, Iran and the US can in parallel collaborate on eliminating the risk of proliferation in the region and establishing a Middle East free from all weapons of mass destruction.

Secretary Tillerson and King Salman shake hands

U.S. State Department

Blog Post - iran-matters

The Iranian–Saudi Hegemonic Rivalry

| Oct. 25, 2017

During the Cold War, Iran and Saudi Arabia formed the twin pillars of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, but this changed abruptly with the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Ever since, the IRI has pursued a foreign policy independent from the West, which pitted Tehran against the West, and the U.S. in particular, as well as with pro-Western states in the region, including Saudi Arabia. In this blog post to Iran Matters, Ali Fathollah-Nejad, Associate at the Iran Project, examines the mutual perspectives of Iran and Saudi Arabia towards one another and how recent regional developments in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere have impacted this "hegemonic rivalry."
 

Rouhani

Russia President

Blog Post - Iran Matters

A Possible Trump Administration’s Iran Policy: Constraints and Options

    Author:
  • Ephraim Kam
| Jan. 20, 2017

A key foreign affairs issue for the Trump administration will be its policy on Iran, as was the case also for the Obama administration. But we have no idea what approach it will take, an uncertainty amplified by the fact that Trump has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy, and no idea whose input he will accept in shaping it. It’s not as if we have no information about his attitude – during the election campaign, Trump made his intention on Iran very clear – but, as with other topics, it is unclear how he will act when once he is forced to translate his intentions into action and realizes that reality is far more complicated than he imagined.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Iran Nuclear Deal Implementation Day: A Belfer Center Expert Round-Up

The Iran nuclear deal was officially implemented on Saturday, as Iran successfully fulfilled its initial key nuclear commitments and the international community relieved major sanctions, including unfreezing about $100 billion of Iranian money. Implementation Day was met with applause from deal supporters in the U.S. and Iran, while critics have raised questions about whether Iran will adhere to its requirements and how it will flex its newfound economic power. Also in recent days, the U.S. and Iran agreed to a prisoner swap that led to the freedom of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and others, and negotiated the release of American sailors detained in Iran. What does the arrival of Implementation Day mean for Iran’s nuclear program and nuclear nonproliferation, and how does it bode for the future of U.S.-Iran relations? We asked Belfer Center experts to weigh in on these and related questions.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

What Should Obama Do Next on Iran?

| Sep. 02, 2015

Nicholas Burns, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, argues in The New York Times that with the likely passage of the Iran nuclear deal, the President needs to put in place a strategy to continue to check Iran regionally and to ensure that they do not build a nuclear weapon. He suggests the US should reaffirm the American commitment to defend the Gulf Region from any aggressor, clarify that the United States will use force if Iran violates the deal and seeks to build a nuclear weapon, renew US-Israeli security cooperation and mend fences with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and reaffirm US commitment to maintaining a coalition of states opposed to Iran's regional and nuclear ambitions. 

jcpoa negotiating team

US Department of State

Blog Post - Iran Matters

9 Reasons to Support the Iran Deal

| Aug. 04, 2015

Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, writes in The Atlantic that despite criticism, the current nuclear deal with Iran is the best option facing the United States for trying to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. He argues that there is a very little possibility of other countries returning to the bargaining table if the US stops the agreement, and states that despite the continued destabilizing actions of Iran in the region, the agreement presents the best chance of foreclosing the pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon.

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Blog Post - iran-matters

Is the Iran Nuclear Deal Good for the U.S.?

| June 20, 2015

Gary Samore, Director of Research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, writes in Time that the emerging nuclear agreement with Iran, while not perfect, buys needed time for the United States and its allies to continue to manage the potential threat of a nuclear Iran. He notes that the agreement will severely restrict any Iranian attempt to build a nuclear weapon through enriching plutonium, as it mandates modification of the Arak Nuclear facility and bans the construction of a nuclear reprocessing facility, which would be necessary for extracting plutonium from used fuel rods. However, the agreement does leave Iran with a much more robust uranium enrichment program, with restrictions for ten years which are steadily eased between fifteen and twenty-five years after the agreement is signed. He suggests that while it may be possible to get a better deal with tougher negotiating tactics, the United States will not be able to keep international consensus pressuring Iran if it rejects the deal after Iran appears to agree to it. He concludes that while this does not solve the problem of the Iranian nuclear program, it gives the United States time to check Iranian regional designs, encourage political change in Iran, and seek other ways to change the regime's calculus about nuclear weapons.