Citizens for Global Solutions is proud to join with a broad network of peace and diplomacy organizations in calling for the United States to return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and pursue diplomacy with the government of Iran.
CGS and its allies in this effort oppose any sanctions that would disrupt any party’s implementation of the JCPOA, block necessary humanitarian and medical supplies from reaching the country, or disproportionately impact Iranian civilians rather than regime officials engaged in illicit or destabilizing activities.
The 2015 agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the U.S., China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United Kingdom) had been a success. Iran was fully complying with restrictions on uranium and plutonium enrichment, and shut down thousands of centrifuges used for enrichment. Iran had also been in compliance with the requirement to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors full and unrestricted access to its nuclear sites and other facilities. In exchange, Iranian assets that has been frozen were freed up, restrictions on Iranian oil were loosened, and international businesses regained access to the valuable Iranian market. 1
The agreement also significantly decreased the chances of a U.S. war with Iran, which had loomed as a real possibility in the years after the Iraq War. Even more significantly, it halted a nuclear arms race in a volatile region. Just this week, evidence emerged that Saudi Arabia, Iran’s primary regional rival, may be secretly developing a ballistic missile program as a precursor to its own nuclear program. 2 In pulling out of the JCPOA, the U.S. is at least partially at fault for reviving this arms race.
Administration experts believe Iran was honoring treaty
President Donald Trump’s own State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford concluded that Iran was in full compliance with the JCPOA, 3 and then-Defense Secretary James Mattis defended the agreement as offering a “pretty robust” oversight regime. 4 Trump’s rash decision to exit the JCPOA undercuts a key goal of his own reactive and erratic foreign policy. Though he has placed little stock in diplomacy with democracies and allies, Trump believes the U.S. can resolve its nuclear differences with North Korea through direct talks with Kim Jong-un. Trump and Kim are now planning a second summit. But North Korea will have little reason to trust the U.S. after it abandoned the Iran deal despite Tehran’s compliance. 5
Trump’s decision to exit the accord came down to two factors: the President’s disdain for the policies — both foreign and domestic — of his predecessor, and the influence of John Bolton, who became National Security Adviser just a month before Trump quit the JCPOA. During the crafting of the JCPOA in 2015, Bolton endorsed bombing Iran in a New York Times op-ed, with the stated goal of “regime change in Tehran.” 6
Bolton is among the most bellicose members of the neo-conservative policy establishment. He once famously said, “There is no such thing as the United Nations. If the UN Secretariat building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn’t make a lot of difference.” 7 (Oddly, President George W. Bush later named Bolton US ambassador to the UN in a recess appointment; a CGS-led campaign against his confirmation played a role in his withdrawal from permanent consideration.)
It is part of CGS’s mission to counter nuclear weapons proliferation and unregulated nuclear systems. The JCPOA was successful in doing just that. It is our hope that the United States will return to the agreement as soon as possible.