July 14, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As an international agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program turns from negotiation to ratification, stay ahead with the scholars at The Washington Institute. Our experts study and report on all aspects of Iran and American policy, from U.S. strategy to Iranian domestic politics to atomic technology to global energy markets to Arab and Israeli responses.
U.S. Strategy in the Middle East
Ambassador James Jeffrey, Philip Solondz Distinguished Fellow
"The only guarantee that Iran will not, like North Korea, develop nuclear weapons is the threat of military force."
"Nothing, including reluctantly accepting a really bad agreement, is as dangerous as leaving open the question of how the U.S. would react if Iran approaches a nuclear weapons capability."
"Any agreement should be judged not only on the basis of its verifiable, real restraints on Iran, but also by the context within which the agreement would operate: readiness to back it by far more explicit and credible readiness to use force to stop a breakout, and a far more active U.S. program to contain Iran's asymmetrical military, ideological, religious, economic, and diplomatic moves to expand its influence in the region."
Ambassador Dennis Ross, William Davidson Distinguished Fellow and Counselor
"After year 15, the deal, at that point, will legitimize the Islamic republic as a threshold nuclear state."
"Given Iran's track record, it will likely cheat along the margins to test the means of verification and see how it might be able to change the baseline -- and there needs to be a penalty for each such act of non-compliance"
Robert Satloff, Executive Director and Howard P. Berkowitz Chair in U.S. Middle East Policy
"The nuclear agreement is a strategy paper that maps Iran's emergence as a regional power, with the full blessing -- even support -- of the United States and the international community."
Michael Singh, Lane-Swig Senior Fellow and Managing Director
"If sanctions are fully lifted without Iran pledging to cease or limit its arms trafficking and ballistic missile activities, the next U.S. president will be left to find different options -- likely more forceful or less effective -- to counter Iranian behavior."
"The agreement seems not to complement U.S. strategy but upend it."
Iran's Domestic Politics and Economy
Mehdi Khalaji, Libitzky Family Fellow
"In Iran, the president and his negotiators have little authority over foreign policy, the nuclear program, or military activities. Instead, those sectors are under the purview of Supreme Leader Khamenei."
"Internal signs indicate that Rouhani will face a tough challenge in the coming weeks and months, since he will be caught between hardliner suspicions and inflated public expectations."
Patrick Clawson, Morningstar Senior Fellow and Director of Research
"The additional resources unleashed by a nuclear deal will put Iran in a better position to spend more on foreign adventurism, but the basic factors determining the scope and nature of such expenditures will remain political, not economic."
Iran's Non-Nuclear Mischief
Matthew Levitt, Fromer-Wexler Fellow and Director, Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence
"At the core of the nuclear negotiations is major sanctions relief for Tehran, which will provide it with sufficient resources to dramatically expand its destabilizing role in the region."
Michael Eisenstadt, Kahn Fellow and Director, Military & Security Studies Program
"Deterring an Iranian breakout, most likely at clandestine sites, will remain a core U.S. imperative for the foreseeable future."
Arab Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Lori Plotkin Boghardt, Barbara Kay Family Fellow
"Riyadh and other Gulf capitals are concerned that an emboldened Iran might increase subversive activity in their own countries, especially in Bahrain."
Israel's View of the Nuclear Deal
Michael Herzog, Milton Fine International Fellow
"As gloomy as this prospect is for those of us on the sharp end, now is not the time to despair. The closing of the agreement is a dramatic watershed, but not the final word."
Iran's Nuclear Program and Global Energy Markets
Simon Henderson, Baker Fellow and Director, Gulf and Energy Policy Program
How to Make Sure Iran's One-Year Nuclear Breakout Time Does Not Shrink (with former IAEA safeguards chief Olli Heinonen)
"Even without hidden facilities, establishing most any Iranian violation of the agreement would likely take several months."