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Reentry into the Iran deal is a crucial first step for the president-elect

Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the world has become a more dangerous place partly due to President Donald Trump’s policies, and he urged Mr. Trump’s successor, President Elect Joe Biden, to return to nuclear negotiations with adversaries. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi discussed the risks of both Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs to the world, and said Mr. Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran had intensified the danger.

The statement follows the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, who was killed Novemeber 27th in an alleged assassination that Iran’s foreign minister linked to Israel.

According to Ilan Goldberg and Eric Brewer, “The Iran nuclear deal is one of the most robust and detailed nuclear agreements ever achieved, and when the United States withdrew, the deal was working exactly as designed: Iran’s nuclear program was drastically curtailed, and the U.S. ability to detect any Iranian attempt to build a bomb—should its ambitions ever change—was significantly improved. Most importantly, Iran was adhering to the deal and continues to do so. If the United States re-enters the deal, these benefits will persist.”

President Trump had apparently considered options to launch a military strike against Iran earlier this year, but appears to have been talked out of it. His aides argued that an attack could quickly lead to a larger war.

The President-elect must find a path for diplomacy with Iran to halt growing tensions. The Iran deal provides a framework agreement that will halt escalation and lead to increased dialogue between the two countries. As both countries struggle with pandemic response, it is vital that we avoid costly escalation and focus our resources on the current global health threat. PSR will continue to monitor movement around the Iran deal and further talks between the next administration and Iran. A return to diplomacy is a needed stepping stone for further progress to ensure we avoid more nuclear weapons proliferation.