Kayhan Barzegar explains why it is so unlikely for the U.S. and Iran to work together to confront the current crisis in Iraq. Such narrow cooperation, Barzegar writes, would threaten the delicate political balance that Iran seeks to maintain in the region. In order for a coordinated effort to work, he argues, the U.S. would need to focus on the broader problem of Sunni extremism and bring its own regional partners into the process. Read more about Chances for Iran-U.S. collaboration in Iraq
Olli Heinonen argues against a myopic focus on the number of Iran's declared centrifuges in nuclear negotiations. Rather, he writes, negotiators should seek information on Iran's history of centrifuge production, thereby increasing confidence that Iran will not create a covert enrichment program. Read more about It's not only about the number of centrifuges
Sam Ratner summarizes Iran's response to the ISIS offensive in Iraq and analyzes possible implications for nuclear negotiations. The effect will be felt, he argues, through Iranian domestic politics rather than directly in nuclear negotiations. Read more about Iran in Iraq: Implications for nuclear talks
William Tobey testified before the House Armed Services Committee last week at a hearing on the P5+1-Iran nuclear negotiations. Tobey argued that any deal should demand that Iran provide "evidence of a fundamental decision not to pursue nuclear weapons":
"Accepting a situation in which Iran insists on keeping a loaded weapon on the table, but simply moves its finger farther from the trigger would not appear to offer sound prospects for long-term success."
Avner Golov and Yoel Guzansky explore the limits of rationality in Iran's nuclear decision making. They argue Iran's leaders, while likely individually rational, face structural and cultural circumstances that would lead them to act irrationally as part of a nuclear deterrence regime. Read more about How rational is Iran?
Gary Samore writes in Politico Magazine that a comprehensive nuclear agreement is unlikely so long as the two sides remain far apart on the core issues of the negotiations: centrifuges and sanctions relief. However, the interim agreement has succeeded in “essentially freezing Iran’s nuclear program without giving up very much in sanctions leverage.” Ultimately, Samore argues, the terms of interim agreement will likely be extended past the six-month deadline on July 20 without a final deal because:
“neither [side] wants to return to previous cycle[s] of escalation of increased sanctions and increased nuclear activities with an increased risk of war. And both sides will be able to make a good case that sufficient progress is being made in the negotiations even if a final agreement has not been reached.”
Jofi Joseph assesses the types of transparency and verification measures the P5+1 should be seeking in a final nuclear agreement with Iran. He argues that demanding Iraq-style inspections is both unrealistic and unnecessary and that more reasonable measures can offer strong assurances against undetected breakout. Read more about Verification measures for a final deal