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Will the Iran Nuclear Deal Survive and What Happens if Not?
Will the Iran Nuclear Deal Survive and What Happens if Not?

Will the Iran Nuclear Deal Survive and What Happens if Not?

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group expert Ali Vaez about Iran’s nuclear program, the fate of the Iran nuclear deal and the risk of a military escalation between the U.S. and Iran if it collapses.

It’s crunch time for negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal. That deal, the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), curtailed Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for substantial sanctions relief. In 2018, President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the agreement. Four years later, Iran is closer than ever to being able to develop a nuclear weapon. While President Biden came to office vowing to rejoin the deal, months of sustained indirect talks in Vienna this year have made only slow headway. There is a real danger that talks collapse, Iran’s nuclear development continues and the U.S. faces a hard choice between accepting Iran as a nuclear threshold state – able to build a bomb even if not yet having done so – or trying to stop that happening, which could mean military strikes on Iran. 

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh are joined by Crisis Group’s Iran Project Director Ali Vaez. They discuss the current state of negotiations in Vienna, impediments to the U.S. and Iran getting back to compliance with the deal, and strategic calculations in Tehran and Washington, as well as in Europe, China, Russia and the Middle East. They talk about where Iran’s nuclear program stands and what options exist if talks collapse. They also discuss what a potential military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities could look like and what risks it might entail. Ali also lays out how the parties could yet salvage the deal in a way that gives them enough of what they need even if not all of what they want.  

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more information, explore Crisis Group’s analysis on our Iran regional page. Make sure to look out for our report coming out on Monday, ‘The Iran Nuclear Deal at Six: Now or Never’.

Contributors

Executive Vice President
atwoodr
Naz Modirzadeh
Board Member and Harvard Professor of International Law and Armed Conflicts
Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
AliVaez