The Iran deal
, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in July 2015 between Iran and the US, China, France, Germany, the UK, and Russia. As part of the deal, Iran agreed to reduce its number of centrifuges and stockpile of uranium enrichment to halt its nuclear weapons program. The deal also gave UN inspectors access to Iran’s nuclear facilities to make sure they were complying with the terms of the agreement. In 2016, in exchange for Iran’s compliance with the agreement, nuclear-related international sanctions against the country were lifted. Many critics of the deal felt that it didn’t do enough to limit the country’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. It’s sunset clauses would allow part of the deal to expire, meaning in 10 years Iran would be able to increase its centrifuges and re-start their nuclear weapons program.
At the start of the debate, Mark thanks Robert for coming to his public defense against the Islamic Republic in Iran. In July, the Iranian foreign ministry announced it was sanctioning the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and its executive director Mark Dubowitz, calling them instrumental in propagating “unilateral and illegal economic terrorism”. Tehran accused the Washington think tank of “designing, imposing and intensifying” the Trump administration’s economic sanctions on Iran. You can read about the tense relationship between Iran and the FDD here
Mark talks about the protests taking place in Iraq and Lebanon and their connection to Iran’s government. Demonstrators in Iraq and Lebanon blame Iran for wielding political influence
in their countries through Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Shiite militant class in Iraq.
Robert mentions the recent Iranian attacks on US drones and Saudi oil fields as proof that tensions between the US and Iran have intensified. You can read about those provocations here
Mark talks about Iran’s currency reserves that are sitting in escrow while Iranians are finding it hard to pay for basic necessities. According to the IMF, Iran has currency reserves of roughly $85 billion
Rob talks about Iran’s decision to resume its uranium enrichment
program after President Trump withdrew from the JCPOA. The country has also surpassed its cap on the stockpile of low-grade uranium in a sign that it is moving towards developing nuclear weapons.
Mark compares the economic sanctions against Iran to those put in place against South Africa in the 1980’s. The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 imposed sanctions against the Afrikaner government with the goal of bringing about an end to the system of apartheid. In 1990 and 1991, South African President F. W. de Klerk began to meet the preconditions set out by the Anti-Apartheid Act. In 1991, following the repeal of Apartheid laws, President Bush lifted all bans against doing business with South Africa. Here
is a looks at recent sanctions initiatives and their success and failures.