Middle East & North Africa

70 Items

Blog Post - Iran Matters

The Details of the Iran Deal Matter, Now More Than Ever

    Author:
  • Ephraim Asculai
| Sep. 24, 2015

Ephraim Asculai, Senior Research Fellow at the the Institute for National Security Studies, and Emily Landau, Senior Research Associate at INSS, argue that while the Iran nuclear agreement is being implemented, there are still significant flaws that need to be remedied in the implementation phase to ensure the agreement functions. They suggest meticulous verification mechanisms to monitor Iranian compliance, transparency in the verification regime, professional oversight and analysis of the IAEA's verification techniques, timely reporting, and verifying and checking information provided by member states to the IAEA as ways to ensure that Iran does not cheat on the agreement and is held to its commitments. 

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. 

Blog Post - Iran Matters

How to put some teeth into the nuclear deal with Iran

| Aug. 27, 2015

Dennis Ross, International Council Member of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and David Petraeus, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center, write in The Washington Post that it is necessary for the United States to continue to project a strong deterrent to Iran in order to insure that it does not develop nuclear weapons after the expiration of the most stringent controls of the nuclear deal. Specifically, they argue that the United States should provide Israel with the Massive Ordinance Penetrator bomb, capable of destroying the most heavily defending Iranian nuclear sites, in order to strengthen the deterrent against trying to break out and built a nuclear weapon.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Best Analysis on the Iran Nuclear Deal

| Aug. 15, 2015

Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, highlights important analysis pieces discussing the recent Iran nuclear deal. Specifically, he focuses on pieces by Richard Haass, Sandy Berger, Efraim Halevy, Amos Yadlin, Shai Feldman, and Ariel Levite which analyze the important pros and cons of the nuclear deal, its repercussions for US and Israeli policy in the region, and how the United States should move forward in responding to the Iranian nuclear challenge.

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.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

The Iran-North Korea Strategic Alliance

| July 29, 2015

James Walsh, Research Associate at the Security Studies Program at MIT and former Research Fellow at the Belfer Center, gave testimony to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee concerning the diplomatic and strategic ties between Iran and North Korea. He argued that while it is still possible for North Korea to assist Iran on cheating on its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he argued that the combination of existing safeguards and deterrents and incentives and verification measures put in place under the JCPOA make this outcome unlikely.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Evaluating Key Components of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action With Iran

| June 27, 2015

Jim Walsh, Research Associate at MIT's Security Studies Program, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on methods of assessing the emerging nuclear accord with Iran. He argued that on balance, the agreement is likely to be a boon for both nonproliferation and for U.S. national security. He cautioned against using a standard of perfection for an agreement, noting that almost every nuclear arms control agreement was criticized and despite this have been overwhelmingly successful. He also suggested limits that would be necessary to make the agreement a success, that the IAEA will be able to determine if Iran is willing to hand over the necessary information on its program in order for an agreement to go forward, and that the agreement is unlikely to trigger proliferation across the region and may in fact help prompt further discussion of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. 

new start treaty closing negotiations

US Department of State

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons Learned from Past WMD Negotiations

| June 26, 2015

Graham Allison, Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on lessons from prior weapons of mass destruction negotiations for the current talks with Iran over its nuclear program. Drawing on arms control agreements during the Cold War and the post-Cold War era, he argued that negotiated agreements on nuclear weapons are a crucial part of American national security although they are complementary to, and not an alternative to, other military, diplomatic, covert, and economic means of geopolitical competition, that no arms agreement is perfect from the perspective of both sides as they are by nature negotiated settlements, claims that the United States can't or should make agreements with "evil" regimes or those that cannot be trusted are false, the United States can make agreements with regimes that it is trying to contain or subvert in other ways, and which are in turn engaging in other actions that are threatening American citizens and soldiers, arms control agreements overall have reduced the number of nuclear weapons and helped reduce the likelihood of war, and that there is no "good" or "bad" agreement on its own, but only when assessed against alternative options.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Lessons Learned from Past Negotiations to Prevent Nuclear Proliferation

| June 26, 2015

William Tobey, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on lessons from prior arms control and disarmament agreements for the current negotiations with Iran. Using examples from Iraq, North and Libya, he identified five key patterns for arms control negotiators to be cognizant of, including the fact that decisions to disarm are usually incomplete and taken incrementally, deceptive actions by the proliferator can appear as progress, strong verification and intelligence measures can deter cheating while lax verification can encourage it, verification is built on checking declarations for inconsistencies, and inspections are only as effective as political support.  From these lessons, he identified three key lessons, including a complete declaration of nuclear activities is crucial, unwillingness to provide this declaration is evidence of Iran's willingness to comply with a full agreement, and successful agreements require vigilance over time, and cannot be considered solved after an agreement is signed.