Analyzing New U.S. Iran Policy

October 26, 2017

On October 13, the Trump administration announced a major shift in U.S. policy, decertifying the nuclear agreement and signaling a tougher approach to Iran's destabilizing activities in the region. In this Call with Experts, RAND Middle East experts Dalia Dassa Kaye and Alireza Nader discuss the future of the Iran nuclear deal and reactions to new sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran. They analyze the ramifications of the decision on the nuclear deal and the longer-term implications for the region and U.S. foreign policy. Media relations director Jeffrey Hiday moderates the call.

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  • People walk at the Grand Bazaar, a day after the presidential election, in central Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2017

    Killing Iran's Economy Won't Help the U.S.

    Oct 31, 2017

    Alireza Nader

    Iran's economy is likely to be damaged by any new U.S. sanctions, with foreign investment having already slowed in response to President Trump's rhetoric. The biggest losers will not be the Iranian regime but the Iranian people, whose striving the U.S. has long hoped would bring about a less antagonistic Iran.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 13, 2017

    Punting on the Iran Nuclear Deal

    President Trump has signaled that he is likely to decline to certify that Iran is adhering to its nuclear deal commitments. The alternatives to the agreement are clear: Iran will develop nuclear weapons, the U.S. will go to war to prevent this, or both.

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani delivers remarks at a news conference during the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, September 20, 2017

    Decertifying the Iran Nuclear Deal Would Not Increase U.S. Leverage

    Oct 5, 2017

    Dalia Dassa Kaye

    The Iran nuclear agreement is not perfect, but it is working. Iran is no longer on the brink of being able to produce a nuclear weapon as it was two years ago. The suggestion that decertifying would increase U.S. leverage to renegotiate and strengthen the agreement is unrealistic.

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif greets United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the U.N. headquarters in New York City, July 17, 2017

    How to Keep Iran from Becoming the Next North Korea

    The United States brokered an agreement to constrain North Korea's nuclear program 25 years ago, but hard-liners abandoned it with vague intentions of coercing the North into something better. They never did, and now a runaway North Korean program poses real danger. This offers a powerful reason to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.