What could happen if the Iranian nuclear talks fail?
"The alternative that the prime minister offers is no deal, in which case Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program, accelerate its nuclear program, without us having any insight into what they’re doing, and without constraint." -President Barack Obama, March 3rd, 2015
Alexei Arbatov assess the potential developments in Russian, Iranian, and American relations should the nuclear negotiations break down. He argues that further Russian cooperation on coercing Iran is not likely when Russia and the West remain locked in a standoff over Ukraine, and suggests that Russia and Iran may move to build closer relations in the future. Read more about Imagining Russia, Iran, and the United States if the Nuclear Talks Fail
Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, writes in Foreign Policy that the dichotomy between a "good deal" and a "bad deal" as presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is an inaccurate way to assess the Iranian nuclear negotiations. He argues that Iran has both been able to drastically shrink the "break out" time it will take to develop enough uranium for a nuclear weapon, and that Iran has been able to develop the knowledge and industrial base that give it an indestructible capacity to produce a nuclear weapon if it makes the decision to do so. The only option at this point, in his assessment, is for the United States and its allies to convince the Iranian leadership that they will not be able to gain an exercisable nuclear weapons option. If the Prime Minister wants to persuade Americans that even if the Obama Administration succeeds in extracting from Tehran a deal that meets the West’s essential objectives, Congress should reject that as a “bad deal,” he must propose a specific, feasible alternative, Allison argues. Read more about On Iran: Reject Bibi's False Dichotomy
Roy Mottahadeh, Gurney Professor of Islamic History at Harvard University, highlights a previously little understood dynamic: the importance of Shia religious leaders in influencing the religious, political, and social views of their followers. In The Quandaries of Emulation, Professor Roy Mottahedeh traces the development of Shia religious leaders, specifically marja al-taqlids, or "sources of emulation," and the bases of their influence within the Shia community. Read more about Quandaries of Emulation
Henry Rome shows how the Iranian press marked the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran, as the country begins ten days of celebration leading up to the formal anniversary of the 1979 revolution.
President Hassan Rouhani accused hardliners of trying to “sabotage” the national interest, “as if they are cheering on the rival team,” leader of Friday prayers in Tehran said Iranians should be able to endure eating one meal per day in the name of a “resistance economy,” and more in this week’s edition of the Belfer Iran Brief, covering January 24 to February 2, 2015. Read more about Belfer Iran Brief — Rouhani accuses hardliners of “sabotage” and other news
On Tuesday, January 27th, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Banking held hearings on the prospects for the continued negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and efficacy of additional sanctions, respectively. Read more about Congressional Commentary and Testimony