OREANDA-NEWS. Abandoning the Iran nuclear deal would harm the United States’ credibility on nonproliferation issues and make it more difficult to solve the North Korean crisis, scholars warn.

President Trump announced on Friday, October 13th, that his administration does not plan to certify Iranian compliance with the agreement, pushing the decision of whether or not to reimpose sanctions on Iran to Congress.

Signed in 2015, the nuclear deal framework is between Iran and what is known as the “P5+1” group of world powers: the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany.

Advocates of the deal say it helped avert a possible war with Iran and a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race. Critics say it will only delay Iran’s march toward a nuclear bomb. The agreement aims to limit Iran’s ability to create nuclear weapons; in return, Iran received relief from economic penalties and sanctions.

The Stanford News Service spoke with two experts—Siegfried Hecker and Abbas Milani—about the deal and the impact backing out could have. Hecker is a top nuclear security expert, former Los Alamos National Laboratory director, and senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University.


"An important lesson the Trump administration should learn is from what happened in October 2002 when the Bush administration couldn’t wait to walk away from the Clinton administration’s “Agreed Framework” deal with Pyongyang. That led to North Korea withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, expelling the international inspectors, and building a nuclear bomb.

Walking away from the Iran deal now could similarly open the doors for Tehran to build a nuclear bomb".


"It is not clear what the Trump administration means by a more “strict enforcement.” The agreement has placed fairly rigorous limits on Iran’s nuclear activity given the unique abilities of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor the program. Might Iran cheat? It might, but no “strict” enforcement can eliminate such a possibility.

There are, moreover, areas that have by all accounts been consciously left ambiguous in the deal. Is, for example, Iran required to curtail its missile program or contain its regional activities? Iran is adamant that these provisions were never part of the deal. Finally, the Trump administration’s notion that Iran is not abiding by the “spirit” of the deal is hard to enforce. One side’s perceived spirit might be deemed by the other side as nothing but wishful thinking".