Home Contact Us  

Nuclear - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5167, 4 November 2016

IPCS US Election Special

The Iran Deal Under a Clinton Presidency
Vivek Mishra
Assistant Professor in International Relations For Asia, Netaji Institute For Asian Studies, Kolkata

Tweaking contextually and semantically what Ronald Reagan said about Russia during the Cold War - "Trust, but verify" - Hillary Clinton proclaimed her strategy apropos the nuclear deal with Iran in September 2015 at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC as "Distrust and verify." Since then, the Iran nuclear deal that was signed on 14 July 2015 between Iran and the P5+1 has created a lot of controversy. The timing of the secretly organised airlift of US$400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the release of four US citizens detained in Iran has put the Obama administration and his party in a bind, besides drawing sharp, theatrical criticism from the Republicans. The Iran deal continues to bedevil conjectures about US’ Iran policy under the next president and remains one of the primary bones of contention in the US presidential run-off.

Hillary Clinton evinced a strong posture towards Iran through her choice of words and promised potential action, referring to Iran as a “ruthless, brutal regime.” As part of her agenda to play the rhetorical hardball with Iran, she has premised her Iran strategy on three likely future scenarios: first, Iran violates the tenets of the deal; second, Iran prolongs its adherence to the deal until there is a regional or global distraction for the US, to eventually enrich; and third, Iran seeks to flex its muscles in the region. All the three possibilities appear to be coming from the reductionist assumption that Iran will try to violate the deal.

However, quite in contradiction, Iran has recently alleged non-compliance by the US vis-à-vis the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In July earlier this year, six months after the Iran nuclear deal began taking effect, Iran raised the non-compliance issue in sanctions relief from the US in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The complaint essentially underscored that Iran was yet to fully benefit from the lifting of multilateral and national sanctions, especially in relation to the US' Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) that lists new eligibility requirements for Iranians travelling to the US. This situation not only upends Ms Clinton’s presumptions on Iran’s behaviour but also creates scope for possible Iranian non-compliance, especially through the recalcitrance that has quintessentially characterised Iranian strategy towards the US post the 1970s strategy. In fact, signs of Iran’s retaliatory posture have already started emerging with Iran launching war drills amidst accusations that the US is violating the nuclear deal.

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate, representing the party that was instrumental in getting the Iran deal through, which gives her high political mileage to chest-thump on stopping Iran from going nuclear, for now. The moral high ground for the Democrats for having struck the deal and the subsequent euphoria might not be so well deserved after all. For one, the US is already delaying some of the sanctions relief to Iran and second, the lifting of more important sanctions like those on conventional arms and missiles have been delayed by as much by eight years. Essentially, the lifting of some sanctions could well see the Clinton administration through, if she assumes office. This gives Hillary Clinton a timeline-cushion for rhetorical play against Iran without much accountability. Moreover, the deal only limits Iran’s capability to research, develop and enrich uranium for fifteen years.

US-Israel Dynamics 
The Obama administration has been widely perceived to be behind the recent waning of US-Israel ties. An initial bilateral dip that saw no visit by President Obama in his first term to Israel, further plummeted with the Iran deal. Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman compared the Iran nuclear deal to the Munich Agreement of 1938 and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would rather sign with the next president a package offered by the Obama Administration.

With ebbed bilateral ties, the onus for restoring warmth in US-Israel ties will be high on Hillary Clinton if she assumes the presidency. Hillary has promised to continue defence sales to Israel, signalling that she is ready to embrace Israel back. She has also announced that she would invite the Israeli Prime Minster to the White House in her very first month as president. However, her road to such efforts are land-mined with the Iran deal. Furthermore, an eventual bump in the US-Israel relationship could surface if and when Israel demands the coveted Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) from the US. Designed to penetrate through 200 feet of earth and 60 feet of concrete before detonating, the MOP is one of the largest non-nuclear weapons in the world today, making it an ideal weapon again Iran’s underground and highly secure nuclear sites like Fordow.

Historical Fixation
Iran has been at the heart of the US’ Middle East policy since the Cold War, and the Shia majority country has come a long way from being an ally to becoming an avowed enemy of the US. Most US presidents since Nixon have tethered their Asia policy around the Persian  Gulf area with Iran as the pivot. The Carter Doctrine stands out in marking the US’ fixation with the Persian Gulf area in history. This obsession with Iran is likely to continue in the event of a likely Hillary Clinton win, albeit in a different manner.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
President Trump's Year in Office: A Foreign Policy Review

Ashton Carterís India Visit: What is the Agenda?

Failed Nuclear Deal with Japan: Will it affect Indo-US Nuclear Cooperation?

Southeast Asia: A Three-Pronged US Strategy

China, the CUES, and Freedom of Navigation

Camp Pendleton Exercise: Heralding the Future US-Asia Security Dynamics?

Rebalance Under Threat?

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.