Congress and the Iran Agreement: The Basics & The Myths
August 20, 2015
In the month since the Iran deal was unveiled, critics in Congress have targeted the scope and verification of the agreement as potential soft spots. For some, the agreement did not go far enough in limiting Iran’s nuclear capabilities (that is, it did not eliminate Iran’s nuclear assets) or in giving inspectors free range in Iran. Leaving aside obvious political maneuvering within Congress, Iran’s long history of undeclared nuclear activities, hidden facilities and evasive maneuvers regarding inspections have made critics of the Iran deal understandably nervous about future Iranian compliance under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After all, wouldn’t we all feel safer if Iran had no nuclear program at all? Wouldn’t we all feel more confident if inspectors could go anywhere at any hour?
The answers to these questions are not necessarily “Yes.” But to understand why, a little arms control and nonproliferation context is necessary.