The 2015 Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) was an historic diplomatic achievement. At a time when many argued war was the only way to prevent or merely delay a nuclear armed Iran, the international community came together to negotiate an agreement that blocked Iran from obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapons. Nuclear material was shipped out of the country, enrichment activities were restricted, and inspectors were given unprecedented access to verify compliance.
The deal was working. But following the Trump administration’s violation of and withdrawal from the deal, Iran also ceased complying with some restraints. Not only has the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium gone up more than twelve-fold, but growing tensions between the US and Iran have led to military confrontations injuring US troops, and have almost led to full-blown war.
President Biden has been clear that he believes the best way to resolve this crisis is for the US to rejoin the agreement in tandem with Iran’s return to compliance. This approach will restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. And it will restore America’s credibility within the international community as the Biden administration seeks to build on the Iran deal with further diplomacy to confront Iran’s human rights abuses and actions against allies in the region. At J Street, we believe this is precisely the right course of action.