The Iran Deal Isn’t Dead—Yet

    John Dale Grover

    Security, Middle East

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani makes a speech during a signing ceremony after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev (not seen) in Baku, Azerbaijan, August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Alexander Nemenov/Pool

    Dov Zakheim, Paul Pillar and Zalmay Khalilzad discussed the topic at an event at the Center for the National Interest.

    When President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that America would be withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—he created an international furor. Tensions have flared in the Middle East after both Trump’s announcement and America’s official opening of its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. The withdrawal from the JCPOA saw crowds of Iranians protesting against America and the embassy move saw protests, rioting and the shooting of fifty-eight Palestinians who attempted to cross the border into Israel.

    To assess the implications of the American withdrawal from the Iran deal, the Center for the National Interest convened a panel moderated by Zalmay Khalilzad, the former ambassador to the United Nations, Afghanistan and Iraq. The panel discussed a variety of topics, including the possibility of salvaging the JCPOA, if Iran would leave it, whether war is likely, if United States would impose sanctions on European companies in Iran and how that might impact transatlantic relations.

    Paul Pillar, a professor at Georgetown University and former National Intelligence officer for the Middle East region, argued that there was a chance of saving the deal. He suggested that so far Tehran “will explore as far as it can with the remaining five members keeping some version of the JCPOA in place.” Pillar also said that if he was “to lay odds right now” on whether the deal would be standing minus the United States in one year that it would be “somewhere around one chance in three and two chances in three that we won’t.”

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