Yesterday, October 18th, marked Adoption Day under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the day on which the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries went into effect. Iran will begin the process of scaling back its nuclear technology and informing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its past nuclear activities. In return, the United States and its negotiating partners will begin arranging to suspend sanctions when the IAEA verifies that Iran has complied with the terms of the JCPOA.
The American Iranian Council has been focused on the actual implementation of the landmark nuclear deal, and welcomes Adoption Day as a positive step. The AIC believes that the Obama administration is serious about the limited sanctions relief outlined in the JCPOA. Even so, the real test of the agreement will occur on Implementation Day, when Iran is determined to have complied with all of its obligations under the JCPOA; only then will sanctions be lifted. Complicating this, the next administration could reverse or deny sanctions relief, even if Iran does comply with the JCPOA.
Looking ahead to Implementation Day, there is also the challenge of attempts by Congress to strengthen non-nuclear related sanctions, which could further inflame relations between the US and Iran. The Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015, put forward by Senator Cardin (D-MD), is one example of legislation that contradicts the spirit of cooperation fostered by the JCPOA.
The AIC has consistently opposed sanctions and other coercive measures that only reinforce the tension between the US and Iran. Both sides need to see past their decades of mutual hostility and mistrust, and redefine the relationship so as to recognize one another as sovereign states with interests. The US and Iran need to negotiate and work together on their shared interests and find compromises where their interests do not align.
Although many challenges remain, Adoption Day represents a possible new beginning for US-Iran relations as concrete steps are taken to address the long-standing nuclear issue. The AIC is hopeful that both sides will fulfill their obligations under the JCPOA, and that the nuclear agreement will allow for cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.
The American Iranian Council