Impact of Interim Deal with Iran – Eric Edelman and Dennis Ross (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)
(dailyalert.org, May 15, 2014)
Evidence suggests that the interim deal with Iran over its nuclear program, formally known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), has set back Iran’s breakout timing by nearly one month.
However, that benefit is more than offset by provisions which allow Iran to enrich uranium more rapidly than before the deal; steadily reduce the pressure on Tehran from sanctions; and fail to resolve international concerns about Iran’s weaponization activities. As a result, in our judgment the JPA is not making a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program more likely to be achieved.
This is based on three key trends we observe thus far, all of which are permitted under the JPA.
– First, increased centrifuge efficiency could negate the ongoing neutralization of Iran’s most advanced uranium stockpile. As a result, Tehran’s overall progress toward nuclear weapons capability could be unchanged, or even advanced, during the interim period.
– Second, even as the JPA leaves Iran’s potential breakout timing unchanged, it is decreasing U.S. leverage for compelling Iran to conclude and adhere to an acceptable final deal. Specifically, we estimate increased oil exports resulting from the JPA’s unlacing of sanctions will yield Iran $9-13 billion more in revenue between the deal’s announcement in November 2013 and the end of the six-month interim deal than if it had not been agreed.
– Third, despite some transparency improvements, Iran continues to deny the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) full access to suspected military dimensions of its nuclear program. As before the JPA, this leaves inspectors largely in the dark about the true extent of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Tehran remains the leading international sponsor of terrorism and the backbone of the Syrian regime’s brutal suppression of its own citizens. It continues rejecting international law and global norms – including binding UN Security Council resolutions calling on it to suspend its nuclear program and comply with its non-proliferation obligations.
- Amb. Eric Edelman and Amb. Dennis Ross are co-chairs of JINSA’s Gemunder Center Iran Task Force.