To listen to commentary, the recently concluded short-term agreement between major Western powers and Iran over that nation’s nuclear program is either the greatest diplomatic victory since the Treaty of Westphalia or the worst since “Munich.” (The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank has a great piece throwing cold water over the reflexive nature of the later crowd.)
Personally, I think the deal is positive and a great start, however it cannot be fully judged until (and if) a long-term agreement is eventually reached.
Regardless, the homeland security angle to this continuing story is second or third order — primarily in the supposed threat that Iran would either give or lose control of a nuclear weapon (when it actually develops one) or the material to Hezbollah or other terrorists. (Or that an Iranian nuclear capability will spur proliferation in the region…also leading to the theft or gift of nuclear weapons to terrorists.)
However, as this story has the potential to fuel water cooler talk in many homeland security circles, I would like to point to a resource for clear and balanced analysis.
The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, recently launched “Iran Matters.” The website includes original analysis from the Center’s experts, including former high level White House, State Department, DOD, Intelligence, and IAEA officials. There are also fact sheets, videos, Q & A’s, etc….all the trimmings of a thorough policy-orientated website.
Among the experts there are those that served President Obama, as well as in the Bush and Clinton Administrations. Viewpoints are shared by nuclear technical experts, professional diplomats and intelligence operatives, as well as nonproliferation experts and “big picture” political scientists.
Among the current offerings:
Graham Allison on the best “thumbs-up” and best “thumbs-down” assessments of the nuclear deal.
Gary Samore discusses what has to happen in the next six months to get to a permanent deal.
Former State Department Under Secretary Nicholas Burns answers “three good questions” about the nuclear deal.
Former IAEA deputy director general Olli Heinonen analyzes the devil in the nuclear details.
Professor Matthew Bunn explains why the deal makes sense.
Senior Fellow Will Tobey on ways to test Iran’s seriousness.
Mark Wallace and Matan Shamir on the risk to sanctions.
Senior Fellow Chuck Freilich on the view from Israel.
Again, if you are interested, the website is: http://iranmatters.belfercenter.org
And just because this song has been stuck in my head after listening to too many cable news pundits on this topic…