Image credit: Gage Skidmore; Majid Haghdoust
By Bijan Ahmadi
IPD Executive Director Bijan Ahmadi wrote a piece for Responsible Statecraft arguing that if Iran talks over restoring the JCPOA fail, there is no viable ‘Plan B’.
The following are excerpts from the original piece published by Responsible Statecraft.
Despite the clamors in Washington for a more aggressive response to Iran in terms of a “Plan B,” a negotiated diplomatic settlement in Vienna remains the only viable path to achieve a sustainable solution to Iran’s nuclear issue.
While more sanctions might seem an attractive, low-cost alternative for the Biden administration in dealing with any impasse in the talks, the reality is that increasing economic pressure against Iran, even if backed by China and Russia, is unlikely to force the country back to the negotiating table fast enough to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.
CIA director William Burns recently stated that the U.S. intelligence community has found no evidence that would indicate Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has made the decision to weaponize Iran’s nuclear technology. Indeed, despite their recent nuclear advances, Iranian leaders have repeatedly stated that nuclear weapons do not have a place in their defense strategy. However, the asssasination of General Qasem Soleimani and repeated Israeli sabotage operations inside Iran have incited a feeling among Iran’s ruling establishment that the country’s current capabilities have failed to deter foreign attacks. A military strike against Iran by the United States or Israel will further galvanize hardline elements in the Islamic Republic and consequently force the regime to make the ultimate decision to develop a nuclear arsenal in hopes of deterring any future attacks and ensuring regime survival.
Bijan Ahmadi (@AhmadiBijanFA) is the Executive Director of the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy.