This latest policy paper by the Centre for the New Middle East at the Henry Jackson Society,A Flawed Deal: An Assessment of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement, undertakes one of the most comprehensive and exhaustive assessments of the Iran agreement to date. The center’s study reveals the key nuclear and non-nuclear flaws of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Arguing that concessions to Iran have long-lasting and damaging security ramifications, the paper concludes that JCPOA will ultimately fail in its aim of ensuring Iran does not become a nuclear breakout power.
The agreement signed by Iran and the P5+1 powers in July 2015 was described by President Barack Obama as an “historic deal” that prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Despite many inadequate aspects of the deal that have been exposed during its scrutiny in Congress, the White House has continued to defend the agreement. The British government has fully supported the Obama administration in this position and unlike in the US, there has been no serious debate of the JCPOA by parliamentarians in the UK.
While the deal is as yet unimplemented and the Iranian regime remains deeply hostile to the West and British national interests, the British government has already rushed to renew diplomatic relations with Iran, reopening Britain’s embassy in Tehran, and sponsoring business ties in preparation for the lifting of sanctions. Nevertheless, the regime in Iran remains unreformed and we are yet to see practical progress on curtailing Iran’s extensive nuclear infrastructure.
The briefing paper identifies four key flaws with JCPOA:
- Provisions for inspections of nuclear sites restrict immediate access to Iran’s military facilities by international weapons inspectors.
- Should the terms of JCPOA be violated by Iran, the re-implementation of sanctions would not be immediate but rather a protracted diplomatic process.
- The temporary nature of JCPOA does little to prevent Iran from rebooting its quest for nuclear capabilities once the deal expires in ten years.
- The lifting of the international arms embargo against Iran will embolden the regime, advancing Tehran’s ability to arm terror proxies and allies in the region such as Assad.
Tom Wilson, Resident Associate Fellow at HJS and author of the briefing paper, commented:
“The Iran agreement clearly fails to meet the international community’s primary objective of guaranteeing that Iran won’t be able move toward producing nuclear weapons. Ultimately, this agreement legitimises Iran’s formerly illegal nuclear programme, leaving Iran as a threshold nuclear power. It’s incredibly worrying that this deal hasn’t been properly scrutinized here in Britain. The British government appears to have gone along with Obama’s plan unquestioningly and now we are to reopen our embassy in Tehran at a time when the regime remains deeply hostile to British interests and has done nothing to earn our trust.”