Americans Support Iran Deal 2 to 1

It is hard to turn on a TV, crack open a newspaper or turn on the radio without hearing something about the Iran nuclear deal. This deal represents the first step in negotiating an end to the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon as well as an historical rapprochement after 30 years of misunderstanding. Among the fray, you’re likely to find more than a few Ploughshares Fund grantees.

Despite the historic nature of the deal, there are forces working hard to sabotage its success in favor of holding out for a so called “perfect” deal with Iran. Unfortunately, outside of diplomacy few options remain that don’t involve military action against Iran. A military strike would not only be costly, experts believe it would almost certainly drive the Iranians to sprint for a nuclear weapon and deal a severe blow to nonproliferation efforts. Ploughshares Fund and our grantees are hard at work to cement this interim deal in place and strive for a comprehensive deal that will take an Iranian nuclear weapon off the table for good.

Berim is bringing to light the overwhelming public support for diplomacy with Iran in order to resolve the impasse over the Iranian nuclear program and prevent a nuclear armed Iran. In a recently released infographic (excerpt above), Berim notes that 63% of the American public is in favor of making a deal with Iran.

Pushing back against the idea that the Iranians can’t be trusted, Daryl Kimball notes in Arms Control Today that Iran is already complying with this first phase of the nuclear deal. Kimball is optimistic about the impact of the interim deal but finds its greatest value in laying the groundwork for a compressive solution. He writes:

By pausing the most worrisome elements of Iran’s nuclear program, the first-phase agreement will also provide the time to negotiate a more permanent “final-phase” agreement that could significantly reduce Iran’s overall enrichment capacity and lead to even more intrusive IAEA inspections to guard against any possible secret nuclear weapons-related activities.

Kingston Reif, director of nuclear nonproliferation at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, is careful to point out that a “perfect” deal could never exist. In his recent piece for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Reif challenges the notion that this interim deal, and a future comprehensive deal, must completely eliminate Iran’s nuclear program – whether it is civilian or military. While he has zero tolerance for an Iranian military nuclear program, Reif sees a similar stance applied to a civilian program as a surefire way to scuttle any chance of bringing Iran’s nuclear program to heel. He concludes:

If the P5+1 and Iran reach a good agreement, and the United States attends to the security concerns of its allies, Tehran can be turned around in its course towards a nuclear weapon, buttressing nonproliferation worldwide.

Insisting on the unattainable goal of zero enrichment, however, risks killing diplomacy and perhaps the last, best hope of constraining Iran’s nuclear program. This would strike a much larger blow to the global nonproliferation regime than the alternative of negotiated limits. Talk about a bad deal.

Ploughshares Fund’s own Joel Rubin recently published a checklist detailing what a big deal this interim agreement is for nuclear nonproliferation. This first step already rolls back Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb, puts daily nuclear inspectors on the ground in Iran for the next six months and eliminates Iran’s stockpile of the 20% enriched uranium needed for so called breakout capability. With these milestones accomplished, when we secure a comprehensive deal with Iran that ensures it will never become a nuclear weapons state, imagine what a big deal that will be.

Full infographic available at