Assessing the Iran Nuclear Deal: A Conversation with Congressman Sam Farr
On the 31st of August, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS) welcomed Congressman Sam Farr, an Alumnus of the institute, for a panel discussion on the nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers. The panel included Congressman Farr and two renowned nuclear nonproliferation experts: Dr. Avner Cohen and Dr. Jeffrey Lewis from the Center of Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at MIIS. The discussion was moderated by CNS Director Dr. William Potter who provided an overview of Iran’s nuclear program.
Dr. Lewis and Dr. Cohen provided a brief overview of the historical significance and future implications of the Nuclear Iranian Program. Dr. Lewis believes Iran will cheat on it’s agreement and build a nuclear weapon. However, in his opinion, experts must account for this and ask “when they cheat, will we still be better off?” According to Dr. Lewis, the verification procedures within the agreement may ultimately prolong the process because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will conduct the verification not the US or other parties. Further, he believes the safeguards and additional protocols in this agreement are significantly stronger than expected and it will give the IAEA the ability to verify Iran’s nuclear program moving forward.
Dr. Cohen elaborated on Israeli and US relations as well as US Jewish community sentiment on the agreement. Israel has not participated in these discussions and some argue may be the most vulnerable to a nuclear Iran.