Good or Bad, Is the Iran Nuclear Framework Workable?

Posted April 30, 2015 at 5:00am

Michael Singh argues that “three design flaws” in the framework agreement between Iran and world powers “may ultimately spell its doom regardless of who succeeds Barack Obama as president.”  

“First, the framework narrowly addresses Iran’s nuclear activities rather than the full range of disputes between Iran and the United States. At one level, this is understandable: Resolving the nuclear crisis is difficult enough without also having to address Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing regional activities. But this approach presumes that these issues can truly be disentangled from one another.”  

“Second, the deal is sure to roil regional dynamics regardless of progress in Iran or between the U.S. and Iran. Critics have asserted that the absence of a requirement in the framework that Tehran dismantle its nuclear infrastructure implies that the Obama administration is gambling on the Iranian leadership becoming friendlier over the next decade. Yet Iran’s threshold nuclear capability poses a problem whether or not its relations with the U.S. improve.”  

“Third, the deal may prove unstable and ultimately unsustainable regardless of who next occupies the Oval Office. It is likely that U.S. oil and financial sanctions will initially be waived rather than lifted because the up-front steps required of Iran are not sufficient, and not sufficiently irreversible, to merit immediate lifting of sanctions. This means that President Obama–and his successor and possibly that person’s successor–will need to certify Iranian compliance and reaffirm the suspension of sanctions every six months.”