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May 10, 2021 11:32 am

The Logic of the JCPOA – Then and Now

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avatar by Oded Brosh


Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi leaves the hotel ahead of the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission, in Vienna, Austria, April 27, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

The Biden administration must stop the Iranian regime’s rush toward nuclear weapons threshold capability.

Only about one-fifth of the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015 addresses nuclear issues, with the remaining four-fifths detailing payments to Iran designed to compensate it handsomely for its nuclear concessions. The original deal was endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2231, which granted further incentives to Iran.

The document is rapidly becoming irrelevant, as the limitations it places on Iran are gradually expiring. Six years on, the arms embargo has already expired, and Iran can acquire state-of-the-art defensive weapons systems from Russia to establish strategic immunity to attack. The “call” to Iran to desist from developing and testing ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons will lapse in two years’ time, as will sanctions regarding ballistic and cruise missiles and BMD (ballistic missile defense), which will facilitate the regime’s acquisition of unprecedented offensive missile capabilities.

Sanctions on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) entities like the Quds Force, its commander, the IRGC commander, IRGC Air Force Missile Command, and the bonyads (para-governmental organizations that manage the IRGC’s economic empire) will also end. The nuclear clauses, which allowed the continued development of advanced centrifuges and which can expedite the rate of enrichment 10- to 20-fold, make this matter urgent. This is all occurring as the Rouhani government is about to end its term and a radical government is likely to take its place.

A new agreement, which many governments and observers in the West advocate (but not Iran), must address the weaknesses of the previous agreement, which worked to the advantage of the Iranian regime. The Biden administration faces an immense challenge in devising formulas for a workable new deal.

The author is a contributing scholar at The BESA Center. To read a full report on this topic, please visit The BESA Center website here.

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