Should the Nuclear Deal with Iran be Renewed?


In 2015 a historic nuclear deal was reached between Iran and world powers The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Arms Control Association provides the details and context of that historic agreement:

“Iran and six world powers known as the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) reached a historic nuclear deal on July 14, 2015 that limited Iran’s nuclear program and enhanced monitoring in exchange for relief from nuclear sanctions. 

Prior to that, Iran had been engaged in efforts to acquire the capability to build nuclear weapons for more than two decades.

Although it remained uncertain whether Tehran would have made the final decision to build nuclear weapons, it had developed a range of technologies, including uranium enrichment, warhead design, and delivery systems, that would give it this option in a relatively short time frame. Tehran (the capital of Iran)  maintains that its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.

President Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018, claiming it failed to curtail Iran’s missile program and regional influence. Iran began ignoring limitations on its nuclear program a year later, resulting in what most observers say is rebirth of its nuclear program.N ow that Biden is in office, the question of whether or not the United States, with the support of its allies, should re-enter the nuclear deal. [As a side note, Kolin Kahl, a successful policy debater, was Biden’s National Security Advisory when Biden was Vice President and played a significant role in the negotiation of the nuclear deal].


Short Fact sheet on JPCOA mechanisms

What are the latest issues stopping an Iran-US nuclear agreement? Al Jazera Sept 2022

THE IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE JCPOA Long report with a good FAQ section at the beginning – from the Obama Administration

What Is the Iran Nuclear Deal? Council on Foreign Relations October 2022

Timeline of Nuclear Diplomacy With Iran Arms Control Association Oct 2022


*The JCPOA restart would decrease Russia’s ability to circumvent sanctions in the war on Ukraine

*The JCPOA will delayed the time before Iran could achieve a nuclear weapons breakout.

*Yes, any delay in restarting the JCPOA will make it less effective

*US and Iranian agreements build connections and access to Iran regardless of their actual outcomes

*nuclear weapons increase the challenges already presented by Iran in the Middle East

*By returning to JCPOS the United States will regain lost credibility from pulling out of the agreement

How a new JCPOA would work August 2022

Delay Risks Effort to Restore Iran Deal October 2022

Revived Iran nuclear deal is ‘closer now than it was two weeks ago’ but gaps remainAugust 2022

4 Reasons why the JCPOS return is a good idea


*The agreement has fatal flaws including that it did not bar stockpiling materials or building centrifuges that enrich uranium to make it usable in nuclear weapons.

*It’s too late – Iran has made irreversible nuclear progress 

*There are interim and alternative frameworks besides the JCPOA

*The JCPOA never extended inspections to Iranian military sires making it vulnerable

*The agreements have “sunset” or expiration dates – they won’t stop the inevitable

*We need a new agreement negotiated directly between the US and Iran

*The IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency –  has found that Iran is not complying with agreements and they can not certify they are not moving to nuclear weapons enrichment.

*We should not reward Iran during the brutal crackdown on protests

*We should not reward Iran with any relief as long as they are supporting Russia’s war in Ukraine

The Iranian Revolution is a Historic Opportunity for the West

But if Iran’s involvement in the Middle East seemed like too distant a threat, the revelation of its involvement in supplying drones to Russia should lead proponents of the Iran deal to reevaluate their position.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelzenskyy stated that Iran’s involvement has prolonged the war and urged the international community to help thwart this Russo-Iranian alliance and prevent Ukrainian air defense systems from being overtaxed Moreover, U.S. officials believe that Tehran is actively looking for alternative ways to continue with its nuclear program irrespective of Europe and the United States’ stance on the JCPOA. Experts indicated that Iran needs assistance with nuclear fuel fabrication, which could help it power its nuclear reactors and potentially shorten Iran’s breakout time to create a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s involvement in Ukraine brings an increased awareness of the policy failures that allowed its peculiar alliance with Russia to emerge. A player like Iran, which has often been dealt with within the context of nuclear nonproliferation, now presents a conventional threat through its supply of cheap drone technology and ballistic missiles to Russia. It is essential to realize that the proliferation of conventional weapons and the Russo-Iranian alliance resulted from an ill-conceived policy that favored talking to hardliners to establish dialogue and minimize threats…

With the recent announcement that Iran has exceeded the enrichment of uranium beyond peaceful purposes, attempts to tame the regime’s international, regional, and domestic behavior have hit rock bottom. The JCPOA, despite temporarily halting the regime’s nuclear program, gave Tehran free reign to ramp up its involvement in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. The lack of emphasis on human rights violations under a supposedly moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, made many Iranian activists think that the West had thrown their concerns under the bus for the nuclear deal.

The original JCPOA never worked and rewarded Iran

Iran’s pivot to China and Russia means a nuclear deal would now look very differentAugust 2022

Iran’s Recent, Irreversible Nuclear Advances

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Is the Juice Still Worth the Squeeze? October 2022

Is Restoring the Iran Nuclear Deal Still Possible? September 2022 . Scroll towards end to see 4 alternatives to the JCPOA

Another Iran Deal? Looking Back and Looking Ahead August 2022 Scroll to the end to see what was wrong with JCPOA and what a new agreement needs

Iran Deal fades:  IAEA says they can not verify agreements with current levels of Iranian Cooperation September 2022

U.S. “not going to waste time” on Iran deal October 2022 – citing Russia and protest crackdowns

United States Enters a New Era of Direct Confrontation With Iran

At the White House, national security meetings on Iran are devoted less to negotiation strategy and more to how to undermine Iran’s nuclear plans, provide communications gear to protesters and interrupt the country’s supply chain of weapons to Russia, according to several administration officials.

“There is no diplomacy right now underway with respect to the Iran deal,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council at the White House, bluntly told the Voice of America last month. “We are at an impasse right now, and we’re not focused on that.”

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Henry Rome, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the scope of the threat goes well beyond the issue that has officials at the Pentagon especially concerned: the movement of the most worrisome nuclear enrichment activity to the underground facility called Fordow that was completed a decade ago.

“Imagine telling the incoming administration in January 2021 that within two years, Iran would be enriching to near weapons-grade uranium at Fordow, deploying its most advanced centrifuges in large numbers, accepting severely limited international monitoring, accumulating multiple bombs’ worth of highly enriched uranium and rejecting diplomatic efforts,” Mr. Rome said. “That’s not quite a worst-case scenario, but it’s pretty close.”

As recently as the summer, American officials still had hopes of reviving the nuclear deal. An agreement negotiated by European and Iranian teams was nearly complete. Representatives of the Biden administration — whom the Iranians refused to talk to directly — had approved the outlines and were awaiting a final sign-off from the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It never came.

U.S. intelligence officials assessed that reviving the deal was as unpopular among Iranian conservatives and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which runs the military side of the nuclear program, as it was among many American critics of the arrangement. The Iranians had sought, unsuccessfully, a commitment that the United States would never again withdraw from the accord unilaterally. And they knew that once they re-entered the deal, most of the nuclear fuel Iran had amassed in response to Mr. Trump’s decision would have to be shipped out of the country.

Then came the street protests and an agreement with Russia that essentially put Iran, along with Belarus, in the position of aiding the Russian invasion.

“The regime has made a series of consequential choices that is increasingly cutting them off both from their people and from much of the international community — including European countries that had devoted the bulk of the Trump years seeking to salvage the nuclear deal,” Robert Malley, the State Department’s special envoy for the Iran negotiations, said on Tuesday.