Iran’s Nuclear Program: Is a Peaceful Solution Possible?
After several years of increasingly punishing sanctions against its economy, there is hope that Iran is now prepared to resume negotiations with the international community to reach a solution to the ongoing nuclear standoff. Many experts fear that Iran is quickly approaching the nuclear threshold, and that 2013 could be the last chance to avoid this outcome. If the international community cannot seize that opportunity, it may be left only with much worse alternatives.
On February 19, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted a discussion to examine strategies for resolving the nuclear standoff. Panelists included former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, co-founder of The Iran Project, who presented the organization’s latest set of recommendations for addressing the nuclear issue, and Brookings Senior Fellow Kenneth Pollack. Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
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The question with this administration is, what will Trump see as an acceptable return for this waiver [granted to India for its trade with Russia and Iran]? Will he demand a transaction in return, some give on the trade side or a big defence deal for the US as well? Russia and Iran are sticking points, but the fact that the Trump administration is dealing with these privately is a sign of how much the relationship has changed. [Mr Trump] usually doesn’t give out freebies.
For all of us who care about preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb, what’s the best way to keep preventing that? [The JCPOA is] not perfect, but it’s something. These conventions are never based on the premise that all the parties are telling the truth, it’s about enforcement mechanisms. No arms control agreement is based in trust.