Was the Nuclear Agreement a Good Deal for Iran?

by Apr 23, 2016Foreign Policy3 comments

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif speaks to the media during talks with the P5+1 in Geneva, Switzerland, November 24, 2013 (Eric Bridiers/US Department of State)

My reply to an Iranian journalist's questions about whether Iranians benefit from the nuclear agreement and the risk the US will end it.

A journalist from Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) contacted me for a few comments about the Iran nuclear agreement–known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). His first question was whether this was a bad deal for Iranians. The second was regarding the threat of the US terminating the agreement. This was my reply:

I can see arguments both ways: that the JCPOA has its merits for Iran and was a good deal to make; or that it required effectively surrendering rights under threat of violence and represents capitulation. Both arguments have merits. On one hand, the Iranian government can be credited with achieving some relief from Washington’s policy of collectively punishing the civilian population of Iran. On the other, it can at the same time be faulted for making concessions that Iran was under no legal obligation to make. I do not have an opinion on which view is the correct one. I figure it’s up for the Iranian people to decide whether the JCPOA was a good deal or not. I’m just an observer.

As for the threat of the US Congress terminating Washington’s commitment to uphold its end of the bargain, I think it is oversensationalized. That the executive branch of government—not Congress—is responsible for making treaties is the traditional view, and I don’t think this tradition is at risk of being greatly upset. Regarding the view that if one of the Republican candidates was elected president, they would end the US’s commitment to the JCPOA, I also don’t think this is very likely. Politicians say a lot of things to get elected. However, this does not mean that the US should be trusted. The US government is completely untrustworthy. The best strategy for Iran is to do everything to ensure transparency and compliance with its obligations under international law so that it is Washington that ends up violating the JCPOA, and so that when Washington lies and claims that Iran broke the deal, everyone will see right through it.

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

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  1. azimbay gali

    I think Iran is very dangerous state, Iran is a threat not only to Israel but also to Kazakhstan. For a long time, Iran demanded that the transfer of the Kazakhstan oil shelf and Kazakhstan was forced to “share” with Russia. Currently, there was even more dangerous country than Iran. It’s Russia. So I think the embargo and financial and trade restrictions on Russia is quite justified. Therefore, the Iranian oil and gas prices will undermine the hydrocarbons market and reduce the Russian currency receipts.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      1) A government being “dangerous” doesn’t justify collectively punishing the entire civilian population.

      1) Iran isn’t “dangerous”. The reason it would be is because of policies such as the collective punishment of its civilian population.

  2. Javed Mir

    Leaving aside US addiction to lies and retreats from commitments, the best option for the Iranian government is to mend its relations with the Middle Eastern countries and go for trade and commercial relationship with those countries. First think about economic growth and then think about the political domination.


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