Questions for a Final Deal with Iran
In advance of the deadline for a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, JINSA’s Gemunder Center Iran Task Force issues a new brief detailing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program that must still be resolved to ensure an acceptable final deal. The brief also provides recommendations for the Administration and Congress to work together to develop credible verification and enforcement mechanisms for a comprehensive agreement.
Co-Chairs Ambassador Eric Edelman and Ambassador Dennis Ross
After two renewed negotiating deadlines and more than a year of talks, momentum appears to be building for a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Specific parameters may remain unresolved, but the emerging contours of a prospective deal raise several fundamental concerns that must be addressed by Congress and the Obama Administration before there could be any assurance it would further U.S. national security interests.
Given the information currently available, a comprehensive agreement building on the JPA clearly would fall significantly short of this Task Force’s baselines for an acceptable comprehensive agreement, as spelled out in previous reports. Multiple issues must still be clarified, resolved and strengthened before the basic tenability of the prospective agreement could be assessed properly.
The Obama Administration must explain how it envisions imposing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to prevent it from obtaining an undetectable nuclear weapons capability. Before considering taking any agreement to the United Nations, the Administration must address very real and legitimate concerns from Congress about an agreement over which it has had no substantive input, and which it justifiably fears would be implemented without its consent. Indeed, Congress’s voice and vote is vital to the credibility and durability of a final deal. The two branches must work together in advance of a final agreement to set the terms that would be acceptable to the United States, not just to the Administration. They must also define every class of potential Iranian violation and the specific responses to each.