IranInsight|Showcasing a Multifaceted Iran

One way to ease the growing rift between Iran and its Arab neighbors across the Persian Gulf might be through dialogue about nuclear safety.

Iran’s Bushehr reactors – started by Germany 40 years ago and completed a decade ago by Russia – sit on earthquake fault-lines and pose potentially grave risks to Iranians and Arabs alike in the event of a nuclear accident.

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The Trump administration’s attempts to isolate and demonize Iran for all the ills of the Middle East will do far more harm than good to long-term US interests. Instead of seeking to isolate and confront Iran, the administration should build on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to ease the region’s sectarian and other conflicts and avoid further destabilizing the local security architecture.

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Terrorists attacked two key sites in Tehran on June 7 -- the Parliament building, a symbol of the republic, and the tomb of the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a symbol of the revolution. Sixteen people died and 45 were wounded. The group that calls itself the Islamic State (ISIS) took responsibility and promised to inflict more harm on Iran.

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Since the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal, member states of the European Union have unanimously affirmed their commitments to the agreement and accelerated their rapprochement with Tehran. This process has continued despite calls from President Trump for all nations of conscience to isolate Iran.

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Many observers of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including both supporters and opponents, believe that new US sanctions on Iran will fatally endanger the deal and that the United States will be the one to blame.

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The Trump administration arrived at a time of serious threats to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, particularly in East Asia and in the Middle East. The nuclear deal struck with Iran by the previous administration and its partners provides a way forward.

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The nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany was one of the more significant international achievements of the past few years.  It was a victory for diplomacy that prevented conflict and produced a politically acceptable outcome for each signatory related to Iran’s nuclear activities.  It was also a milestone for the global nonproliferation community, and may create opportunities for expanding and extending its provisions to other countries.  But friction between Iran and the United States, particularly since the election of President Trump, creates some lingering uncertainties about the chances of the main elements of the agreement lasting for 15 years.

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While implementation of the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is critical for restoring international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran can do far more to provide additional assurances that its activities meet international nuclear security standards.

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In agreeing to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran accepted extensive and intrusive verification measures that go beyond those made by other countries in either Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or in the Additional Protocol (AP) of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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