Verify and Trust May Come with Iran: The Parameters for the Proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan
April 2, 2015
The devil in any arms control agreement lies both in the details and how they are enforced over time. There can be no "trust" without proven verification, and much depends on Iran's behavior in other areas like full compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, no efforts to develop and deploy biological weapons, and the extent to which it deploys missiles with precision guided weapons.
That said, the proposed parameters and framework in the Proposed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has the potential to meet every test in creating a valid agreement over time of the kind laid out earlier in the Burke Chair analysis circulated on March 30. It can block both an Iranian nuclear threat and a nuclear arms race in the region, and it is a powerful beginning to creating a full agreement, and creating the prospect for broader stability in other areas. Verification will take at least several years, but some form of trust may come with time.
This proposal should not be a subject for partisan wrangling or outside political exploitation. It should be the subject of objective analysis of the agreement, our intelligence and future capabilities to detect Iran's actions, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) capabilities to verify, and enforcement provisions if Iran should cheat.
No perfect agreement was ever possible and it is hard to believe a better option was negotiable. In fact, it may be a real victory for all sides: A better future for Iran, and greater security for the United States, its Arab partners, Israel, and all its other allies.
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
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