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The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Definitive Guide

The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Definitive GuideThe Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School has produced this briefing book on the Iran deal in the interest of contributing to informed Congres­sional review and public discourse on the agreement. First, we have provided a concise description of the complex agreement and the accompanying UN Security Council Resolution 2231, including areas that appear ambiguous. Second, we have tried to provide a balanced assessment of the agreement’s strengths and weaknesses with respect to its central objective to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran Edition: Hardliners Criticize Nuclear, Missile Limits

Iran EditionShirin Lotfi describes reactions in the Iranian press to the nuclear deal signed with the P5+1. Specifically, Iranian hardliners have criticized the deal in editorial comments, critiquing it for sections relating to Iran's ballistic missile program, the process of sanctions relief, and the potential for the United States to impose further sanctions for nonnuclear activities.

The Iran-North Korea Strategic Alliance

James WalshJames Walsh, Research Associate at the Security Studies Program at MIT and former Research Fellow at the Belfer Center, gave testimony to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee concerning the diplomatic and strategic ties between Iran and North Korea. He argued that while it is still possible for North Korea to assist Iran on cheating on its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, he argued that the combination of existing safeguards and deterrents and incentives and verification measures put in place under the JCPOA make this outcome unlikely.

Statement by 60 National Security Leaders on the Announcement of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Nick BurnsMichele FlournoyJoseph NyeJim WalshNicholas Burns, Professor of Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School,  Michele Flournoy, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center and CEO of the Center for a New American Security, Joseph Nye, Professor and Former Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and James Walsh, Research Associate with the MIT Security Studies program were among a group of 60 former national security officials and analysts who signed a statement in favor of the nuclear agreement with Iran. The statement, while acknowledging faults with the agreement, supported it and urged the Administration and Congress to work closely to implement the deal.

A Good Deal for Israel

Chuck FreilichChuck Freilich, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center and former Israeli Deputy National Security Adviser writes in the New York Times and in Israeli media that the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1, despite flaws, is in fact good for Israel. He argues that critics of the current agreement have not offered feasible alternative plans, and that the deal will buy Israel time to address immediate threats in its region, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, without worrying about the potential for an Iranian nuclear weapon. He concludes that the intransigence of Prime Minister Netanyahu is a dangerous course, as it is most likely either going to fail or seriously endanger the close relationship between Israel and the United States.

Elements of the Iranian Nuclear Deal

Gary SamoreGary Samore, Director of Research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, describes the main elements of the JCPOA. The July 14, 2015 comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) consists of the agreement itself and five technical annexes: Annex I – Nuclear-related measures; Annex 2 – Sanctions-related commitments; Annex III- Civil Nuclear Cooperation; Annex IV – Joint Commission; and Annex V – Implementation Plan. The version issued by the EU is used here because pages and paragraphs are numbered in proper order.  In coming days, the Belfer Center plans to publish a more detailed description and assessment of the agreement.

Clearing Hurdles to Iran Nuclear Deal With Standoffs, Shouts and Compromise

David SangerDavid Sanger, Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center and the National Security Correspondent for the New York Times, writes in the New York Times on the shifting course of American diplomacy with Iran during the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. From the earliest meetings facilitated by the Sultan of Oman with Iranian officials, to the final hours of the tense negotiations in Vienna, he describes the shifting priorities and views of the American and Iranian diplomatic teams, and how compromises on sanctions and centrifuges allowed the deal to come together.