Aaron Stein outlines Turkey's strategic approach to Iran's nuclear program. Turkey's policy, he argues, is based on robust assumptions about the strength of Turkey's military, the credibility of NATO's deterrent power, and the value of the Turkish-Iranian economic relationship, and is therefore unlikely to change no matter the outcome of Iran's negotiations with the P5+1. Read more about Piecing together Turkey’s Iran policy
The next round of P5+1 negotiations approaches, as Congress zeroes in on new terrorism-related sanctions and blocking a diplomat linked to the 1979 hostage crisis from entering the United States. These stories, President Rouhani’s visit to Afghanistan, General Dempsey’s trip to Israel, and more—in this week’s edition of Iran news from March 29-April 4, 2014. Read more about Belfer Iran Brief—Reviving the 1979 hostage crisis and other news
Kaveh Afrasiabi writes that increasing tension in the Iranian-Pakistani relationship could have a negative impact on nuclear negotiations. As mistrust grows between Iran and their nuclear neighbor, Afrasiabi argues that P5+1 negotiators should bring considerations of Iran's regional security into on-going talks. Read more about The emerging Pakistani factor in the Iran nuclear equation
At 12:00pm EST on Wednesday, April 2nd, Belfer experts Gary Samore and Matthew Bunn will host a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) to discuss nuclear negotiations with Iran, nuclear security issues, and all things weapons of mass destruction.
James Sebenius, writing in Foreign Policy, suggests next steps for the American negotiating strategy in nuclear talks with Iran. The Obama administration, Sebenius argues, would do well to help expand the potential constituency for a more comprehensive deal in Iran by dramatizing its benefits. At the same time, he highlights the risk of “deal drift:” that some version of the interim deal may well end up as the new status quo. To address this risk, Sebenius describes how a credible contingent sanctions mechanism—that avoids the deal-killing provisions of Menendez-Kirk—could be put in place for exceeding a potential six month extension on the Joint Plan of Action. Read more about Like a boss: How corporate negotiators would handle nuclear negotiations with Iran
Ariane Tabatabai, writing in The National Interest, takes a closer look at Iran's human rights record under President Rouhani and grapples with the idea of linking progress on human rights to ongoing nuclear negotiations. The linkage, she concludes, would be largely counterproductive:
"Are the nuclear talks are an adequate platform for those human-rights concerns that remain? Probably not. The nuclear talks are complex enough without the addition of an extremely complicated and largely separate issue."
Tyler Cullis andTritaParsi outline the findings and ramifications of a new report from the National Iranian American Council (NAIC) on President Obama's legal authority to roll back sanctions against Iran as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal. The president, they argue, is constrained by the law in a way that dangerously limits his ability to deliver on the key transaction of nuclear talks: sanctions relief for nuclear concessions. Read more about Will US sanctions scuttle a nuclear deal with Iran?
Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar traces the logic of Iranian conservatives as they stake out their position on nuclear negotiations. The conservatives, Tabaar argues, are looking for a middle ground between a deal that fails to deliver economic recovery in exchange for nuclear concessions and a deal that over-delivers, giving the "pragmatist faction" a massive political boost. Read more about Iran’s nuclear politics: Regime security vs. factional interests
Why shouldn't negotiators in Vienna yet take up discussions of Iran's ballistic missiles? Mansour Salsabili, writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, argues that the P5+1 must consider the legacy of the Iranian missile program as a conventional defensive system which, he writes,
"deserves to be addressed in a thorough and balanced manner that respects Iran’s legitimate defensive needs... A solution may not emerge until the later stages of final negotiations. But tackling the question of Iran’s long-range ballistic missiles must not be rushed."
As the next meeting of P5+1 and Iranian negotiators approaches, the EU’s foreign policy chief visited Tehran, Senate Republicans abandoned another sanctions push, and Hassan Rouhani took his first trip as Iran’s president to an Arab country, and more in this edition of the weekly news from the Iran portfolio for March 8-14, 2014. Read more about Belfer Iran Brief—Lady Ashton visits Tehran and other news
In the run-up to a new round of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Graham Allison and Gary Samore gather the best analyses on how the role players in the negotiations could and should proceed. Negotiators must now pursue proposals that will keep all parties at the table and interested in the future of talks.
Matthew Bunn spoke with Sam Ratner about the distance still to go to reach an acceptable settlement in nuclear negotiations with Iran. "Neither side," Bunn warns, "really has grasped how much it has to compromise in order for there to be a comprehensive agreement." Read more about Video: Matthew Bunn interview for Iran Matters