The Iranian Deal

The Iranian and North Korean nuclear cases are different in a number of respects, and Secretary Kerry was quick to point them out following the conclusion of the deal. On CNN’s State of the Union it was the first question that Kerry got from Candy Crowley, and he was clearly prepped: “First of all, [Iran’s] a member of the NPT. Secondly, they have engaged in a negotiation.  Thirdly, they have committed to have daily inspections of certain facilities. They have committed to restrict their activities with those inspections taking place. And in addition to that, they have publicly committed that they are not going to build a nuclear weapon. North Korea already has and has tested and will not declare a policy of denuclearization.” Columnists supportive of the deal were quick to point out these differences; Fox News and other critics were equally quick to jump on the possible parallels of the North Korean deal ultimately gone sour.

The Iran deal should not be read through the lens of what it actually accomplishes now—which is very modest–but through the broader opportunity to engage; Steve Walt makes the point eloquently from a realist perspective at Foreign Policy. To us, the core difference between Iran and North Korea, however, is that there has been an observable shift in the ruling coalition in Iran with the controlled election of Rouhani that makes such a negotiation worth risking; nothing similar is visible in North Korea. The last time we failed to take up such an opportunity during the second Khatami presidency we helped pave the way for the rise of Ahmadinejad. Imposing more sanctions at this point would only sour negotiations, and we are pleased that there has been some domestic restraint, even if our allies have been much less diplomatic.

In this post, we simply annotate the Joint Plan of Action through a Korean lens: what is familiar, what is new, what might be learned?


Geneva, 24 November 2013

Joint Plan of Action


The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. This comprehensive solution would build on these initial measures and result in a final step for a period to be agreed upon and the resolution of concerns. This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein. This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment programme with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the programme. This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This comprehensive solution would involve a reciprocal, step-by-step process, and would produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme.

There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step, including, among other things, addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Council’s consideration of this matter. The E3+3 and Iran will be responsible for conclusion and implementation of mutual near-term measures and the comprehensive solution in good faith. A Joint Commission of E3/EU+3 and Iran will be established to monitor the implementation of the near-term measures and address issues that may arise, with the IAEA responsible for verification of nuclear-related measures. The Joint Commission will work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern.

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