Will Iran Cheat? The Reliability of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

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The Deal is Done, but Can It be Sustained?

On July 14, 2015 the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) and Iran concluded a landmark agreement to verifiably restrict Iran’s nuclear activities—largely for a ten to fifteen-year period of time—in exchange for sanctions relief. Since then, the agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has already weathered several storms. Domestic critics in both Washington and Tehran assailed their administrations for having made too many concessions but ultimately failed to thwart the accord. Iran moved on to meet its key obligations and on January 16, 2016, the JCPOA’s official implementation was announced.

Against this backdrop, the Obama administration can now move on and focus on the deal’s sustainability. The administration has already tried to get ahead of the curve by setting up two offices—within the State Department and the National Security Council—that will monitor the JCPOA’s full implementation. Besides keeping track of the agreement’s day-to-day implementation, the United States should also carefully ponder whether Tehran will live up to its part of the bargain in the future. For the time being, JCPOA-related restrictions will keep Iran relatively far away from the nuclear weapons option, but Iran could undermine those restraints by cheating. U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran should be informed by the likelihood that cheating takes place and should endeavor to decrease whatever incentive Iran might have to cheat.

To identify the likelihood that Iran will cheat, I analyze the JCPOA’s deterrents against cheating as well as weaknesses that might encourage Iran to violate the agreement. I continue by assessing Iran’s sensitivity to economic pressure and how it plays into the prospects for Iran’s compliance. I conclude that on balance Iran’s incentives to comply should trump the desire to move closer to the nuclear weapons option, at least in the foreseeable future. However, things might change in the long run. Therefore, the United States should do more to emphasize the costs of violating the JCPOA, mainly by reiterating that the military option is still on the table and coordinating possible economic counter-measures with Iran’s key business partners.

The Restraints on Iran’s Nuclear Program under the JCPOA

In accordance with the JCPOA, Iran has reduced its number of centrifuges from close to 20,000 down to a little over 6,000 (all of them being older IR-1 centrifuges) at its two enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow.[1] Approximately 5,000 centrifuges in Natanz can enrich uranium in the isotope U-235 up to 3.67 percent (to produce fissile material for a warhead, further enrichment to more than 80 percent would be necessary). About 1,000 centrifuges in Fordow cannot be used for enrichment at all. In addition, Iran has reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) from more than 10 tons[2] down to 300 kilograms.[3] Most of these restrictions will remain in place for fifteen years. After ten years, however, the IR-1 centrifuges in Natanz can be replaced with more advanced centrifuges in accordance with a side agreement, which is not publicly available.

Iran is also turning its planned heavy water reactor in Arak into a light water reactor, which will produce much less plutonium (that will not be weapons-grade). Tehran has also accepted tight verification standards, which allow inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) far-reaching access to nuclear facilities as well as nuclear material and technology. The UN Security Council (UNSC) is being tasked with overseeing the import of nuclear-related dual-use items, as well as technical and financial nuclear-related assistance provided to Iran for ten years (procurement channel).[4] In return, the nuclear-related sanctions against Iran will be or have already been suspended or lifted. In accordance with a new UNSC Resolution (2231), the punitive measures that were imposed by the UN Security Council will be lifted. The economic sanctions that were enacted by the U.S. Congress have been waived and EU sanctions have been lifted upon Iran’s compliance with its above-mentioned obligations.

Estimates indicate that the reduction in number of Iran’s centrifuges and its stockpile of LEU will increase “break-out” time, the time that would be required to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear warhead, from approximately two or three months to about one year or a little less (for at least a ten-year time frame).[5] By securing Iran’s agreement to the JCPOA, the United States, which had been negotiating based on the formula of a one-year long period of break-out time, has not only scored a major diplomatic victory, but has also severely complicated a nuclear buildup. In this respect, one should keep in mind that even acquiring enough fissile material for a single bomb would fall short of providing Iran with a full-fledged nuclear arsenal, which would be needed to keep its adversaries at arm’s length. This would require warheads that can be delivered by missiles (which, in light of Iran’s rather weak air force, would presumably be Tehran’s preferred choice of delivery vehicles).[6] So long as the restrictions on Iran’s enrichment activities are fully in place, the production of the fissile material for anything even remotely close to such an arsenal would take many years. Turning the fissile material into a comprehensive nuclear arsenal would be an additional challenge.

Deterrents against Cheating under the JCPOA

Iran has the option to cheat, but thanks to the long period of break-out time, the intrusive monitoring regime, and the threat of economic and military counter-measures, there are sufficient deterrents in place to make this a high-risk, low-benefit solution in the mid-term future. Any attempt to break out from the agreement’s restrictions and to race for the bomb would require major activities at Iran’s declared enrichment facilities and would likely be detected immediately.[7] Alternatively, Iran could break the deal clandestinely. Fortunately, the vast majority of more sophisticated cheating attempts are also very likely to be detected. Possible violations involving Iran’s current centrifuge capacity are a case in point. Tehran needs to disclose its entire stockpile of centrifuges and components that might be used for the construction thereof. Furthermore, IAEA inspectors have unlimited access to the facilities where centrifuges are being stored and produced. Any attempt to use them for illicit activities could not be concealed. A similar obligation to report all material and to open up facilities for in-depth inspections applies to Iran’s stockpile of uranium ore concentrate—the material that can be turned into uranium hexafluoride—which is used for enrichment (there is, however, no such obligation regarding existing stockpiles of uranium hexafluoride, as discussed below). Verification standards with respect to the rest of Iran’s nuclear material are very tight as well. Iran’s facility in Natanz, where all enrichment takes place, can be inspected constantly. As a result, it would be practically impossible to secretly divert uranium ore concentrate or LEU.

Regarding the possible diversion of plutonium, Iran’s hands are also tied. Iran is prohibited from building a reprocessing plant, which would be required for the separation of plutonium, in the next fifteen years. In theory, the Arak reactor could be remodeled to produce higher amounts of weapons-grade plutonium as opposed to producing smaller amounts of reactor-grade plutonium, but such a step would be very time-consuming and tip off the international community instantaneously, since the Arak reactor is an unconcealed facility and can be easily monitored.[8] What is more, Iran is obliged to comply with the Additional Protocol giving inspectors access to all remaining elements of the nuclear fuel cycle, as well as to research and development activities not yet involving nuclear material. This includes full and short-term inspections of all buildings on a nuclear-relevant site.[9] As a result, the risk that any nuclear material can be diverted is greatly reduced.

Admittedly, Tehran might still use undeclared facilities to depart from its non-proliferation obligations. It is unsettling that both of Iran’s enrichment facilities were built in secret. A new attempt to construct another clandestine enrichment site would, however, be complicated by the control of nuclear-related dual-use imports under the auspices of the procurement channel. Efforts to sidestep the procurement channel by buying nuclear-relevant material on the black market would have to be limited in scope to avoid detection; procuring in small volumes, reducing the benefits of engaging in such activities in the first place.[10]

In addition, the United States’ track record—unlike the IAEA’s—of identifying Iran’s secret nuclear sites is fairly encouraging. Although it did not immediately learn about Iranian plans to install centrifuges at its two enrichment sites, the U.S. intelligence community knew about Iran’s activities in Natanz several years before the public found out about them, and was also aware of Iranian attempts to build a secret enrichment site in Fordow well in advance of Iran’s acknowledgement of its existence.[11] In any case, even if a secret nuclear site assembling several hundred centrifuges did escape detection, this would not significantly reduce the barriers to nuclear weapons, unless Iran also managed to divert nuclear material. In the absence of the latter, enrichment sites could only store centrifuges which would be of no practical value for the time being. Iran already has almost 20,000 centrifuges, but cannot use most of them under the JCPOA to enrich uranium. Diverting nuclear material would, as explained above, be even harder to conceal than building a secret nuclear site.

If any of the aforementioned violations were to be uncovered, the response of the international community would be severe. Any such violation would be seen as a key threat to international security and lead to renewed sanctions. If diplomacy did not succeed and Iran was racing for the bomb as opposed to cheating clandestinely, the United States would be extremely likely to take military action before Iran came too close to enriching enough uranium for a warhead to weapons-grade levels. And if the United States did not carry out air strikes, it would be very likely that Israel would.[12] Essentially, then, Iran would not gain too much by cheating during the JCPOA’s first ten years. Such a move would not bring Tehran significantly closer to a realistic break-out scenario, let alone one that would provide it with a full-fledged nuclear arsenal. Furthermore, the costs of cheating attempts would be very high.

Possible Shortcomings of the JCPOA and their Implications

Weaponization-related activities that do not involve nuclear material—such as working on a warhead design, detonator development, and other measures—appear to be a less costly, though hardly a more rewarding cheating option. To counter this threat, the JCPOA outlaws some critical dual use activities and the importation of equipment that is essential for crossing the nuclear threshold, but the elements of the verification regime that aim at monitoring whether Iran truly refrains from these steps are secret. However, the sensitivity of the issue and Iran’s long-standing refusal to come clean about its previous weaponization-related activities cast doubt about the verification regime’s completeness. In addition, some weaponization-related activities only require limited space and staff, which makes it easier to conceal them compared to other possible violations.[13] On the upside, there is a special agreement on challenge inspections that obliges Iran to open suspect facilities within no less than twenty-four days. This time frame is too short to clean up facilities after nuclear material has been transferred to them, but could be sufficient to disguise certain weaponization-related activities.[14]

As a result, this cheating option is comparatively attractive. It is, however, not entirely clear to what extent Iran may benefit from such a move in the near- and mid-term future. According to the IAEA report on the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran had conducted a range of weaponization-related activities in the past, although the extent of Iran’s scientific capacity and capability, and how far further research would be required, is not known for certain.[15] In addition, the most challenging part of any attempt to cross the nuclear threshold is by far the production of enough fissile material—which the aforementioned restrictions should inhibit Iran from pursuing for the time being.

These restrictions will, however, be eased after ten years, when Iran is allowed to replace approximately 5,000 old-fashioned IR-1 centrifuges in Natanz with more advanced centrifuges, presumably IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuges, which are estimated to be about three to five times more efficient. At a later stage, Iran might be allowed to install centrifuges that perform even better than that.[16] The exact performance of Iran’s more advanced centrifuges is somewhat unclear, since they have never been used for large-scale enrichment. In addition, the side agreement about the replacement of the centrifuges is secret, which makes it utterly impossible to identify all of its implications. Nevertheless, depending on its scope and the to-be-installed centrifuges’ performance, Iran’s centrifuge infrastructure could eventually match, and even surpass, its efficiency prior to the JCPOA’s implementation.[17] The more efficient its centrifuge infrastructure becomes, the more Iran may be interested in further reducing the impediments to building the bomb.

Fortunately, centrifuge efficiency does not necessarily translate into a feasible break-out option, since the latter also depends on the amount and status of nuclear material. The good news is that Iran’s stockpile of LEU will remain capped at 300 kilograms for 15 years, which would not be sufficient to produce enough fissile material for a warhead even if all of it was further enriched. Iran might, however, produce large quantities of unenriched uranium hexafluoride, which the JCPOA does not appear to restrict. By taking advantage of this loophole, Iran could reduce break-out time well below the current one-year time frame, but Iran would still be vulnerable to a military strike before it could produce a single bomb’s worth of fissile material. Against this backdrop, Iran will still be extremely unlikely to race for the bomb, but it might ponder whether to engage in secret cheating attempts. In this respect, the lack of an additional verification mechanism regarding Iran’s stockpile of unenriched uranium hexafluoride might come back to haunt the inspections regime. If Iran produces a huge stockpile of unenriched uranium hexafluoride, it would make it more challenging to detect the diversion of smaller amounts. Furthermore, Iran’s procurement activities will no longer be tightly controlled after ten years, when the procurement channel expires.

Another problem is that, in contrast with the agreement’s first ten years, there might no longer be enough time for a diplomatic response if Iran significantly exceeds the JCPOA’s boundaries. Such a diplomatic response would also be severely hindered by the challenge of enforcing sanctions again. All sanctions that were imposed by the UN Security Council will “snap back” in the next ten years if a single veto power takes the initiative. Thereafter, however, there will be no such mechanism. Unfortunately, the UNSC sanctions, which are rather modest in scope and largely limited to several individuals and entities, are the only nuclear-related punitive measures still partly in place and for which there is a mutually agreed snap-back provision. In contrast with the European Union, the United States has waived its core sanctions as opposed to lifting them, which should make it easier to reimpose them anytime. Washington would, however, still have to convince Iran’s business partners, the vast majority of whom are not part of the JCPOA, to reduce or cease their business relations with Iran. The longer sanctions are waived, the harder it will be to achieve that. With regards to the threat of renewed sanctions, the JCPOA is therefore much weaker than some statements made by the Obama administration imply.[18]

Iran’s Sensitivity to Economic Pressure

In contrast to the UN Security Council sanctions, the Western measures had a profound economic impact, especially the U.S. sanctions that targeted Iran’s business partners. The immediate and comprehensive suspension of the key U.S. and EU sanctions should give Iran’s economy a major boost. Depending on the speed of Iran’s economic recovery and Tehran’s political priorities, sanctions relief could even undermine the JCPOA’s sustainability well before the ease of enrichment-related restrictions might take a toll on the agreement. The future strength of Iran’s economy is very hard to predict.[19] However, the near-term future looks bright. Thanks to the suspension of U.S. banking sanctions, Iran claims to have access to more than $100 billion in frozen assets, although the Obama administration insists that this number shrinks if Iran’s foreign debt is taken into account.[20] In addition, oil and non-oil exports are sharply on the rise. As a result, the International Monetary Fund estimates that economic growth could stabilize at 3.5 to 4 percent in the years ahead, although factors such as the steady decline in the price of oil make this prediction very uncertain.[21]

Iran’s sensitivity to economic pressure was exposed during the JCPOA’s negotiations. The United States was successful in furthering the isolation of Iran’s banking sector from the international market. In late 2011, Iran’s central bank was even declared a “primary money-laundering concern,” which basically characterized it as a threat to foreign governments and financial institutions.[22] At the same time, Iran’s oil exports, on which Iran’s economy mainly depends, were also targeted. The latter would eventually be reduced from 2.5 million barrels per day to approximately 1.1 million.[23] The European Union followed suit with its own oil and banking sanctions, dealing a severe blow to Iran’s economy.[24] As sanctions were tightening, the leadership in Tehran got the message and agreed to open a secret channel with Washington to resolve the differences over the nuclear issue. After President Hassan Rouhani’s election, negotiations gained steam, paving the road for the conclusion of the interim Joint Plan of Action in late 2013, which froze large parts of Iran’s nuclear activities. From then on, Tehran has complied with its obligations under the agreement.

President Rouhani argued constantly that Iran needed to end the stalemate over its nuclear program to receive sanctions relief and revive its economy. In a televised speech marking the anniversary of his inauguration, he said that the JCPOA would allow him to “create jobs and seek economic improvement.”[25] Apparently, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei bought into Rouhani’s policy of making sanctions relief a priority. In a letter, in which he officially (though grudgingly) supported the agreement, Khamenei acknowledged that the decision to enter meaningful negotiations on the part of Iran was “fundamentally based on the goal of ending the unjust economic and financial sanctions.”[26]

This calculus is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. Rouhani’s economic reform plan is a multi-year endeavor, which would be severely at risk if Iran was caught in a cheating attempt, let alone a significant one. Bold and controversial economic steps, such as cutting gas subsidies and ongoing costly military endeavors in Syria and Iraq, should further decrease the appetite to violate the JCPOA. Furthermore, President Rouhani has put pressure on himself to deliver on his promise of economic reform. In sum, he can be expected to pursue a cost-averse nuclear policy. The Supreme Leader seems to be on board with this approach. Admittedly, interactions with Iran might be a whole new ball game once President Rouhani leaves office. Reaping the economic benefits of the deal might make the JCPOA a less divisive issue in the long run. Iran’s long-standing commitment to advancing its nuclear program, however, indicates that the pendulum might also swing back, especially when Iran’s economy has recovered.

Strengthening a Reasonable Deal

To conclude, there are multiple indications that cheating would not pay off for Iran in the foreseeable future. Except for weaponization-related activities, which would not necessarily advance Iran’s nuclear program in a meaningful way, cheating attempts would presumably be quickly detected and lead to renewed sanctions, thereby undermining President Rouhani’s economic agenda. However, Iran will probably be less deterred from cheating over time, as its economy grows, the efficiency of its nuclear program improves, and the procurement channel is abolished. As a result, the likelihood of concealment of some JCPOA violations should slightly increase, whereas the economic costs of being caught will decrease with every year of sanctions relief. Violating the agreement is likely to be increasingly enticing as Iran gets closer to the end of the fifteen-year time frame, by which time virtually all restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear activities will be removed, and Iran could lay the ground for a nuclear buildup. Simultaneously, domestic politics inside Iran might change in favor of those who are less concerned about the country’s economy and advocate a tougher nuclear policy. Although the threat of airstrikes will remain a lasting deterrent against a break-out attempt, Iran might still engage in cheating endeavors that are easier to conceal and less likely to cause military strikes. The United States should be mindful of these upcoming challenges and look for additional means to deter Iran from cheating.

At this stage, since most of the JCPOA has been implemented, renegotiating aspects of the agreement to rectify its imperfections is not a realistic option. The United States might, however, reinforce the threat of punishment if Iran is caught cheating by increasing the future impact of sanctions and reminding Iran that the military option is still on the table. Regarding the challenge of enforcing sanctions again, the United States should particularly target Iran’s crude oil exports that have been the Achilles’ heel of Iran’s economy for decades. Before U.S. sanctions against importers of Iranian crude oil and the oil price’s downward slide took a heavy toll on Iran’s petroleum sector, the latter generated approximately half of Iran’s entire revenue, about 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and 80 percent of foreign exchange earnings.[27] Since then Iran has made inroads on diversifying its economy, but the recovery is still expected to depend largely on the amount and value of crude oil exports.[28]

In addition, a suspension of importing Iranian crude oil is, in contrast with other punitive measures that cannot simply be switched on, technically easy to implement. Against this backdrop, the United States should strike a side agreement with the importing countries, most of which are U.S. partners or allies—namely India, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, and Turkey. With the sanctions being suspended, Europe has started to import Iranian crude oil, but European governments should be especially open to pre-coordinating countermeasures against cheating. The notable exception is China. However, Beijing is heavily dependent on Arabian suppliers, which might allow the United States and its Arab partners to use their leverage as a bargaining chip. When sanctions were still in place, importers needed to reduce the amount of Iranian crude oil they were receiving by 18 percent every 180 days.[29] To put significant pressure on Iran, the side agreement should greatly exceed this benchmark in terms of scope and time. Given Iran’s dependence on oil exports and low oil prices, such a step would constitute a major additional deterrent against cheating.

The threat of military strikes should help the United States to avoid a break-out attempt from Iran, but it might not prevent other cheating attempts. Crucially, this danger needs to be seen as a credible threat. The United States should therefore hint at its determination to use military force in the wake of severe JCPOA violations. The recent history of Iran’s nuclear program indicates that the Iranian leadership is fearful of the military threat. At the end of his first term, President Obama made clear that he would do whatever it took to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. At one point he explicitly alluded to “a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.”[30] At about the same time, Iran started to keep the number of centrifuges it was feeding with uranium relatively constant, although it kept installing additional centrifuges. Iran also began to scale back parts of its stockpile of uranium enriched in the isotope U-235 to 20 percent.[31]

Whereas drawing a line in the sand might create the impression that cheating attempts short of crossing such a red line are acceptable, the United States should declare that the military option is on the table if Iran engages in a major cheating attempt. This would keep Iran guessing and reassure American allies. To underscore the military threat, it could be written into the next National Security Strategy and emphasized in documents that are leaked to the press. Such documents should explicitly mention the scenario of a far-reaching attack that takes aim at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an influential power-broker on the side of the country’s extremists. The United States would also be well advised to assert its resolve by confronting Iran’s meddling across the greater Middle East.


The JCPOA is likely to buy the United States and the international community more time—presumably several years, if not fifteen or more—in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities. This is a valuable achievement, especially compared to the available alternatives. An immediate attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure would cause international consternation and presumably only buy two or three years, while Iran’s business partners would be unlikely to further tighten sanctions in order to secure an even better agreement.[32] Against this backdrop, the United States should live up to its side of the bargain and refrain from taking action that would seriously endanger the JCPOA. Simultaneously, it should enhance the deterrents against possible Iranian cheating attempts by raising the costs of cheating later in the deal. A side agreement with the importers of Iranian crude oil to cut back on their imports if necessary and the renewed threat of military strikes should be the key elements of such a strategy. This is a delicate balancing act, but it can be done.


About the Author

Sven-Eric Fikenscher is an associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Prior to assuming his current position, he was a research fellow with the Belfer Center’s International Security Program and the Project on Managing the Atom from 2012 to 2015. In previous stints, Fikenscher was a research fellow in the Department of Political Science at Goethe University Frankfurt and a research assistant with the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt.

[1] For an overview of the JCPOA see Gary Samore (Lead Author and Editor), The Iran Nuclear Deal: A Definitive Guide (Cambridge, MA: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2015). If not indicated otherwise, the information about the JCPOA that is mentioned in this article can be found in the agreement.

[2] This number includes the LEU, which has been converted to different oxides.

[3] On January 16, 2016 the IAEA officially declared that Iran was in compliance with these obligations. See IAEA Board of Governors, Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) (Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency, GOV/INF/2016/1, January 16, 2016).

[4] In practice, this responsibility will be delegated to a joint working group, assembling the parties that concluded the JCPOA and the EU.

[5] David Albright, Houston Wood, and Andrea Stricker, Breakout Timelines Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Washington, DC: Institute for Science and International Security, 2015), 1-2.

[6] For an overview of Iran’s missile program and its interest in building missiles that can deliver a nuclear payload, see The International Institute for Strategic Studies, Iran’s Ballistic Missile Capabilities: A Net Assessment (London: IISS Strategic Dossier, 2010), 117-138.

[7] Break-out time is being measured based on the assumption that all available resources are used to acquire a single bomb’s worth of fissile material.

[8] R.S. Kemp, Two Methods for Converting Iran’s IR-40 Reactor to Use Low-Enriched-Uranium Fuel to Improve Proliferation Resistance After Startup (Cambridge, MA: MIT Laboratory for Nuclear Security and Policy Occasional Paper, 2014), 6.

[9] “Additional Protocol,” International Atomic Energy Agency, accessed November 16, 2015, https://www.iaea.org/safeguards/safeguards-legal-framework/additional-protocol.

[10] Admittedly, things might change once the procurement channel expires and we are approaching the end of the JCPOA’s restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program (see below).

[11] Even critics of both the JCPOA and the idea that the U.S. intelligence community is well-positioned to detect nuclear sites have admitted that. See for example Michael T. Flynn, “Testimony on Iran” (Testimony before the Joint Foreign Affairs and HASC Subcommittees, Washington, DC, June 10, 2015), 7.

[12] Interviews with U.S. and Israeli officials.

[13] Olli Heinonen, Strengthening the Verification and Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Washington, DC: FDD Press, 2015), 5.

[14] Institute for Science and International Security, Verification of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Washington, DC: Institute for Science and International Security, 2015), 6.

[15] IAEA Board of Governors, Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme (Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency, GOV/2015/68, December 2, 2015).

[16] Samore, The Iran Nuclear Deal, 25-26.

[17] Albright, Wood, Stricker, Breakout Timelines.

[18] On the day the JCPOA was concluded President Obama himself said, “If Iran violates the deal, all […] sanctions will snap back into place.” See “Statement by the President on Iran,” The White House, accessed November 23, 2015, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/statement-president-iran.

[19] Cyrus Amir-Mokri and Hamid Biglari, “A Windfall for Iran? The End of Sanctions and the Iranian Economy,” Foreign Affairs 94 (2015): 25-32.

[20] Guy Taylor, “Iran is banking billions more than expected thanks to Obama’s deal,” The Washington Times, February 3, 2016, accessed February 26, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/feb/3/iran-claims-100-billion-windfall-from-sanctions-re/?page=all.

[21] International Monetary Fund, Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2015), 81-88.

[22] Samuel Rubenfeld, “US Designates Iran As ‘Primary Money-Laundering Concern,’ Sanctions Energy Sector,” The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2011, accessed February 26, 2016, http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2011/11/21/us-designates-iran-as-primary-money-laundering-concern-sanctions-energy-sector/.

[23] Kenneth Katzman, Iran Sanctions (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, January 21, 2016), 22.

[24] Katzman, Iran Sanctions (2016), 34-36.

[25] Aresu Eqbali and Asa Fitch, “Iran’s President Says Nuclear Deal Will Help Revive Domestic Economy,” The Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2015, accessed November 16, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/irans-president-says-nuclear-deal-will-help-revive-domestic-economy-1438550655.

[26] “Leader’s letter to President Rouhani regarding the JCPOA,” Khamenei.ir, accessed November 23, 2015, http://english.khamenei.ir/news/2336/Leader-s-letter-to-President-Rouhani-regarding-the-JCPOA.

[27] Kenneth Katzman, Iran Sanctions (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, July 26, 2013), 2.

[28] International Monetary Fund, Regional Economic Outlook, 83.

[29] Katzman, Iran Sanctions (2016), 21.

[30] Tom Cohen, “Obama pledges to stop an Iranian nuclear weapon,” CNN.com, March 5, 2012, accessed February 11, 2016, http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/04/politics/obama-aipac/index.html.

[31] IAEA Board of Governors, Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Vienna: International Atomic Energy Agency, GOV/2012/9, February 24, 2012), 7.

[32] Estimates vary, but U.S. officials and independent experts appear to agree that Iran still has significant amounts of material that is required for the construction of centrifuges (especially maraging steel)—additional material could presumably be acquired on the black market—as well as the knowledge for constructing centrifuges.


Edited by Alex Defroand, Editor for Articles and Assistant Director for Social Media, and Dira Fabrian, Editor for Articles and University Network Director.


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