Decision Points

The United States, Israel, and the Iranian Nuclear Program

June 15, 2021

World attention has focused on the prospects of the United States and Iran finding terms that enable them to return to their 2015 nuclear deal. Yet what does this mean for all the unanswered challenges that President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken say are essential to address in a “longer and stronger” follow-on agreement? How will the United States preserve its leverage for such a second round? What incentives will Iran have to engage in negotiations after a Vienna deal is reached? And what does this mean for Israel and the rest of the Middle East?

 

For the first episode of the season, host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with three guests who have deep expertise on Iran, the nuclear program, and Israel’s approach to deterring it. Ambassador Dennis Ross, the William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, formerly served as special assistant to President Obama and senior director for the Central Region at the National Security Council, among other prominent positions. Ray Takeyh is the Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the recent book The Last Shah: America, Iran, and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty. Ariel (Eli) Levite is a nonresident senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program and Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment; previously, he served as principal deputy director-general for policy at the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission from 2002 to 2007.



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