In light of continued Iranian intransigence in meeting its international obligations over its nuclear programme, negotiators in Vienna have once more extended the deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran by six months – until the end of June 2015.
It is vital for international security that the Iranian nuclear programme is subject to stringent safeguards. In the absence of a comprehensive deal, an extension presents a better option than any deal that does not sufficiently restrict Iran’s nuclear activities.
As laid out in The Henry Jackson Society’s recent report, The Iranian Nuclear Programme: Practical Parameters for a Credible Long-Term Agreement, a deal with Iran must comprehensively preclude any path to a nuclear weapon for Iran. This has to include not only provisions that ensures any enrichment programme Iran is able to maintain under the terms of a deal is sufficiently curtailed to prevent breakout, but must also account for and conclusively shut down the suspected military dimension of Iran’s nuclear programme. For a deal to be credible, Iran must submit to an effective verification regime that enforces an adequate irreversibility of constraints to its nuclear activities and provides an early detection system for violations through the IAEA.
Without a significant package of comprehensive controls on all these fronts, no deal can assure the international community that Iran’s remainding nuclear activities are for civilian purposes only. In the absence of Iranian commitments to this end, the P5+1 should resist any further easing of the sanctions applied to Iran. After more than ten years of deception and fruitless negotiation, Iran must not be rewarded for promises but only for real meaningful action and compromise.
Davis Lewin, Deputy Director and Head of Policy and Research, commented: “It is disappointing that Iran has once again failed to live up to its obligations. Curtailing Iran’s path to a nuclear weapons capability thus remains one of the gravest security challenges the international community faces.
“These negotiations do not take place in a vacuum and cannot continue indefinitely. It is important that continued and if necessary additional pressure is brought to bear on the Islamic regime to comprehensively end its illicit nuclear activities. We cannot allow Iran to run out the clock again and again whilst striving to menace us with a nuclear weapons capability.”