The Iran nuclear deal was an agreement framework made in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1). The need to establish a framework came after the P5+1 countries noted concern over the nuclear program of Iran. As a result, the foreign ministries of the countries engaged in a series of meetings that ultimately reached a conclusion on April 2, 2015. The parties announced that they had reached an agreement on the decisive steps they intended to take concerning Irans nuclear program. A joint comprehensive plan of action formed the framework through which the parties involved would deal with the issue.
According to Bruno (2010), Irans leaders had striven to explore nuclear technology since 1950 when the U.S. President Dwight launched the Atoms for Peace program. During that period, Iran continued steadily to make impressive progress in nuclear technology through the support of the Western Nations. However, the start of the Islamic Revolution raised serious concerns about Irans intentions by attempting to overturn the regional order raised serious concern about the intentions of Iran (Chubin 2009). Since the year 1990, Iran has continued to revive its civilian nuclear programs, but some revelations caused concern. In particular, the revelation of Irans clandestine research into carrying out uranium enrichment and conversion arose in 2002 and raised international concern that Iran was not interested in developing the nuclear project for peaceful intent.
U.S. intelligence and the international inspectors remained skeptical that indeed Iran was developing the technology for purposes beyond peaceful intent. Iran on their art consistently denied the allegations that it was developing a nuclear bomb. Experts continued to argue that they viewed Iran to be unable to master the capabilities of using the nuclear technology to produce weapons. Conversely, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA 2010) affirmed that Iran had the potential to use the technology to build nuclear weapons. The rep ort further detailed that the uranium enrichment program near the city of Qom targeted to enrich fuel and develop missile ready warheads. With these revelations, international suspicion about Irans motives raised with Iran consistently denying the allegations.
Irans nuclear program contained several research sites and reactors, uranium sites and processing facilities. There were also three uranium enrichment plants which were earlier ratified and dedicated to scrutiny from the IAEA regulation. Wehling (2008) asserts that most of Irans nuclear programs were developed with the help of the Russian government which offered nuclear experts as well as technical information that was needed for the project. The first project was completed in 2011 which was later followed by announcements that there were also plans to develop new nuclear plants with bigger and medium sized capacities. The revelations of the clandestine operations by the Irans government led to massive reactions by the international community which acted swiftly in attempts to derail and hamper Irans hidden motives.
Following the revelations that Iran was developing the nuclear technology for purposes beyond peaceful purposes, the United States government imposed sanctions on Iran in a bid to have the Iranian government change its mind about the issue of developing nuclear technology for non-peaceful agendas (Clawson 2010). The sanctions were further expanded by the U.S. government in 1995 to ensure that there was firm dealing with the Iranian government. Initially, the penalties were specific in that it targeted at crippling Iran trade. The major trade targets for the sanctions included the complete elimination of investments in oil, gas, cutting off business dealings with Iran, as well as ending the exportation of refined petroleum products from Iran. The sanctions primarily targeted to destroy Irans oil market which the country depended on heavily.
According to Habibi (2010), the Iranian financial sector was hit by the sanctions with the U.S. government imposing sanctions on Irans banking and insurance industry. The Central Bank of Iran was majorly hit with shipping and web-hosting services for commercial purposes being cut off. Domain name registration services were also paralyzed leaving the country with a dysfunctional financial unit. In the end, the efficacy of the steps taken by the U.S. government is evaluated. Torbat (2005) established that the effects of the financial sanctions proved to be more powerful than the trade sanctions which had been passed on Iran. Analysis indicates that that the unilateral import sanctions which had been placed on fungible crude oil from Iran had not been effective as it were expected. Clearly, the trade sanctions which had been placed on Iran by the U.S. government had not been successful as much as it had been intended.
In 2003, the Bush administration warned that Iran was planning to use the nuclear program to develop weapons. These same concerns were shared by the Obama administration. Since taking office, Obama has always remained vocal that his government was ready and committed to seeking a tactical engagement plan with Iran towards achieving a near-term solution that would potentially reduce Irans sanctions which he inherited from the previous administration. In line with this commitment, President Obama was willing to engage the Iranian government in bilateral talks without preconditions (Haass & Indyk, 2009). Nuclear proliferation remained the primary concern for the U.S. government policies on Irans nuclear technology. In attempts not to tamper with the steps and gains that had been made by his predecessor, Obama reiterated his administrations willingness to engage Iran in direct dialogue but through high-level contact. It was also imperative not to divulge U.S. broader strategy towards Iran.
The Obama administration continued to pursue the issue of seeking a policy through which it was going to engage with Iran. In 2009, Obama communicated to the leaders and people of Iran affirming that his government was willing to engage with Iran in multilateral talks to address the full range of issues surrounding Irans nuclear agenda. Furthermore, President Obama stressed that it was imperative for all the concerned parties to be willing to talk to Iran to clear issues concerning Irans pursuit of nuclear weapons and support for terrorist organizations. Evidently, this was seen as a general reconciliatory tone that the Obama administration was willing to engage in solving the impasse (Indyk et al.2012).
After noting that the set datelines for negotiations were not playing a significant role in solving the issue, Obama reiterated that his administration was explicitly willing to engage a range of steps including stronger international sanctions against Iran (Sullivan 2010). The then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton further stressed Obamas assertion that Obamas administration was laying the groundwork for installing very severe and crippling sanctions on Iran. Beyond the reiterations of a policy of engagement and tougher sanctions, Iran remained adamant that the U.S. also had the option of engaging other strategies available including the military option. In effect, this left the U.S. to consider other channels of engaging and negotiating with Iran.
Bureaucracy played a vital role around the issue of Irans nuclear program in the U.S. The issue of bureaucracy is based on the fundamental understanding of the Constitution and the relative powers of the executive branch of government and other departments in foreign policy. Many people hold the view that the president should have acted in line with the constitution which provides for multi-agency coordination in solving international issues such as the Iran deal as a treaty. However, Mayer (2002) provides an insight into the presidential powers that come with their executive orders which have the power to modify procedures and formulation of policies by fiat. Bureaucratic politics plays a significant role in the decision-making process in the United States. The formulation of foreign policies, in particular, falls into the developed models for decision making.
Given the situations before the signing of Iran nuclear deal, the Obama administration sought the approval of the Congress. However, the bureaucratic steps were hindering President Obamas ambition of striking a deal with the Iranian government over the nuclear issue which had dragged for a long time. The Obama administration chose a different strategy of adopting the option of making the deal as an international agreement instead of taking the treaty clause. This step effectively gave President Obama the path to carry on with negotiations with Iran into finding a near-term resolution of the issues surrounding Irans nuclear program.
The U.S. Congress held a key role in that it voted for the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA). INARA (2015) was a bill passed by the U.S. Congress in 2015. The bill sought to give power to the Congress to review any agreement reached in talks between the P5+1 countries and Iran. The aim was to prevent Iran from obtaining or manufacturing nuclear weapons through the nuclear program that it had initiated. The act provided that the Irans nuclear activities permitted in the agreement were not to be used for further development of nuclear-related weapons or nuclear explosives. The act restricted the nuclear program only for generation of nuclear power and not for research and development of explosive devices or for any other military purposes (114th Congress, 2015).
400 members of the Congress had voted to force President Obama to submit the Iran nuclear deal to the Congress was perceived to be a setback for Obamas administration. In the spring of 2015, President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani were finalizing on the nuclear deal. The U.S. Congress had failed to stop the nuclear deal and it was going to take effect. Iran was going to make the recommended changes so that the economic sanctions imposed on the country could be lifted. The recommended changes would see Iran start to remove the numerous centrifuges as well as making major changes to its main nuclear infrastructure. Additionally, Tehran was going to implement transparency measures in all of its uranium mills.
Following President Obamas deal with Iran on its nuclear program, many conservatives argued that the President was violating the law. As an interpretation of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Treaty Clause declares that the president has the power to make treaties. However, it is mentioned that the president needs to seek the advice and approval of two-thirds of the senators. Instead of following that process, President Obama sought to codify the deal as an executive agreement without seeking the approval of the Senates majority. As a result, conservatives held the thought that the deal would be squashed by the Supreme Court because they termed it as an illegal move. According to Sinclair (2017), that can be perceived as an unorthodox lawmaking process which does not follow the standard legislative route before it is appended to by the president.
The Supreme Court observed that any agreement that is deemed to pose serious threats to the U.S. regarding its military and security commitments must take the form of treaties. However, it does not mean that the federal government can only make international agreements only through the Treaty Clause (Lawson & seidman 2006). In fact, the deal fails to fall into the Treaty Clause because it is not legally binding as far as the International Law is concerned. As a matter of fact, the Supreme Court could argue that t...
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