Nuclear Weapons | Discussion Takeaways

The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Could It Inform Future Nonproliferation and Disarmament?

November 2016


How to Adapt and Repurpose Parts of the Iran Nuclear Agreement

The Iran nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was not meant to set precedents. But nuclear policy experts at a recent roundtable concluded that some of the agreement’s provisions could be adapted and applied in other circumstances to enhance international security. Such action could help better facilitate cooperation on nuclear technology, build confidence that nuclear programs remain peaceful, and strengthen nonproliferation and disarmament activities.

This policy memo identifies innovative provisions of the JCPOA, how they could be adapted, and the challenges to their broader application. Identified proposals include adapting provisions on enhanced materials accountancy, fuel cycle commensurability, prohibitions on weaponization, and enhanced procurement controls. The nuclear experts at the roundtable agreed that, for such proposals to overcome political resistance, there would have to be a broader understanding of the effectiveness of these innovative provisions and an emphasis of what states stand to gain by observing enhanced nonproliferation measures.

On October 26–28, 2016, experts and policymakers from academia, government, international organizations, and civil society gathered at the Airlie Center outside Washington, DC, to participate in the Stanley Center’s 57th annual Strategy for Peace Conference. This year’s conference featured autonomous roundtables where experts focused on policy ideas, challenges, and recommendations in four key global issue areas: climate change, genocide prevention, nuclear security, and global governance.

This policy memo captures the major discussion points and policy recommendations from the roundtable on “The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Could It Inform Future Nonproliferation and Disarmament?,” chaired by George Perkovich, vice president for studies and director, Nuclear Policy Program, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.