Iran and North Korea: Where Do We Go From Here?

Iran and North Korea: Where Do We Go From Here?

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Add to calander July 3, 2018 12:00 am Iran and North Korea: Where Do We Go From Here?

On Tuesday, July 3, the INSS Arms Control and Regional Security Program held a special open seminar focusing on the developments regarding the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. In particular, discussions addressed the implications of Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA, and the prospects for denuclearization of North Korea following the June 12 summit in Singapore.

The event included the participation of members of Israel's security establishment, policymakers, leading academics and journalists, and INSS researchers.

July 3, 2018

On Tuesday, July 3, the INSS Arms Control and Regional Security Program held a special open seminar focusing on the developments regarding the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea. In particular, discussions addressed the implications of Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA, and the prospects for denuclearization of North Korea following the June 12 summit in Singapore.

The event included the participation of members of Israel's security establishment, policymakers, leading academics and journalists, and INSS researchers.

The Institute for National Security Studies, Chaim Levanon Street, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Summary

On July 2-3, 2018, the INSS Arms Control and Regional Security Program and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) held a closed conference focusing on a range of current arms control challenges, including: great power relations; prioritization of nuclear challenges; the specific perspective of European diplomats dealing with arms control; and developments regarding Iran and North Korea.

In addition, there was an open seminar “Iran and North Korea: Where Do We Go From Here?” which in particular addressed the implications of Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, and the prospects for denuclearization of North Korea following the June 12 summit in Singapore. The conference included the participation of members of Israel’s security establishment, international policymakers, leading academics, journalists, and INSS researchers. What follows is a summary of the closed panel on “Implications of Trump’s Exit from the JCPOA.”

Implications of Trump’s Exit from the JCPOA

Moderator and participant: Ms. Sima Shine, Senior Research Fellow, INSS
Participants:

·         Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, INSS (Former US Ambassador to Israel)

·         Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya’alon, Senior Research Fellow, INSS (Former Minister of Defense of Israel)

·         Dr. Emily Landau, Head of Arms Control Program, INSS

·         Dr. Ephraim Asculai, Senior Research Fellow, INSS

·         Mr. Behnam Ben Taleblu, Research Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), Washington DC

·         Ms. Andrea Stricker, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), Washington DC

Ms. Sima Shine, Senior Research Fellow, INSS

Sima Shine opened the panel discussion by noting that at present, Iran does not wish to exit the JCPOA as there would be little benefit for it in doing so. That said, Iran is dependent on external developments moving forward. The Europe’s, Russia’s, and China’s willingness to give Iran enough economic incentives to stay in the deal is crucial when looking into the future. She believes Iran needs to ask itself three questions moving forward: Does the United Sates just want a better arms control agreement? Does the United States want a better JCPOA or a total change to its regional behavior? Or is the ultimate goal of the administration regime change?

Dr. Ephraim Asculai, Senior Research Fellow, INSS

Ephraim Asculai focused on the IAEA, claiming that the Agency is not carrying out its mandate to the fullest with regards to the JCPOA. Up until 2015, the IAEA reports were very good. But more recently, the more recent IAEA reports have lacked transparency, and have been mild with very little detail. He concluded that Iran is capable of breaking out to achieve a nuclear capability and is capable of concealing such as a capability, despite the possibility of being caught by the international community.

Ms. Andrea Stricker, Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)

Ms. Stricker discussed fixing the JCPOA over the long term. Andrea believes that additional sanctions are needed to have Iran to change its behavior. But in response to sanctions, it is likely Iran will take a step by step approach (salami tactic), slowly ramping up its nuclear activity, and the question is what the red line is regarding when the situation is no longer acceptable according to the international community. Regarding the Mossad mission in which Israel secretly transported the entire Iranian nuclear archive to Israel from a warehouse in Tehran, Stricker noted that this places the IAEA in a difficult situation and undermines its credibility as an institution. There is a need to review and, if needed, revise the IAEA verification mechanisms in accordance with the new information. In order to avoid a difficult situation moving forward for the Western world and in order to safeguard its interests, it is imperative that action be taken to improve transatlantic relations and extricate them from their current difficult status.

Dr. Emily Landau, Head of Arms Control Program, INSS

Emily Landau spoke about lack of transparency since the JCPOA, especially the IAEA reports on Iran that no longer provide full information on Iran’s nuclear activities and plans. This was explored through a study group at the INSS. Emily continued by saying that Iran is not a normal member of the NPT, but a blatant violator of the Treaty. The P5+1 agreed to this deal despite its imperfections, and still Iran should not be given the benefit of the doubt. Confidentiality rights (which are claimed by Iran as a member of the NPT) that are given to other states should not be given to Iran due to their deceptive past.

Dr. Landau also talked about the need for information regarding US-European negotiations over the last several months – what was achieved, what they could not agree upon – and the status of Macron’s 4-point proposal for improving the JCPOA, which he presented to Congress in late April.  Later in the debate Dr. Landau stated that Iran’s nuclear ambitions are becoming harder to tackle, not easier. This issue is only amplified by the way North Korea is dealt with by the US. North Korea is a lost cause, as it is already a nuclear state – the result of failed diplomacy and relying on bad deals. The challenge with Iran is to not let it cross the nuclear threshold: that is what the Trump administration is trying to achieve. There is also a dire need to get productive transatlantic talks back on track.

Mr. Behnam Ben Taleblu, Research Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD)

Behnam Ben Taleblu elaborated on the fact that US nonproliferation strategy has drastically changed from the Cold War. Whereas the nuclear threat and national security/foreign policy used to be separated in calculations made by the policymakers in Washington D.C., it has now become a crucial and integral part of the decision-making process.

Mr. Taleblu said the first dividend for the Iranians with regard to the JCPOA is to make an illicit nuclear program, over time, acceptable and legitimate. He believes that sanctions will be much more difficult to enforce, and because of this military action will be more likely. The lack of international consensus on a pressure strategy will make this entire situation much more difficult moving forward. What is the red line for the international community regarding Iran’s nuclear program given these circumstances? It is impossible to answer until November 4, when the second round of sanctions will be enforced.

Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya’alon, Senior Research Fellow, INSS (Former Minister of Defense of Israel)

Moshe Ya’alon believes Iran will adhere to their obligations within the framework of the JCPOA and will not publicly break out to a nuclear device. Tehran will likely use the possibility of moving to enrichment as a tool – to try to pressure the US. He also stated that the military option may become a viable option again, especially if other tools such as sanctions are no longer feasible. This may allow for a situation in which cooperation may happen between the US and Israel. The credibility of the US administration will be on the table during this time.

Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, INSS (Former US Ambassador to Israel)

Ambassador Shapiro explained how the JCPOA is no longer relevant from a US perspective and now there is a need to focus on the objectives of the Pompeo speech, which has been the only significant policy piece since the JCPOA withdrawal. The US will attempt to impose stringent sanctions, but what is unclear is whether this administration has the patience and fortitude to implement sanctions on the needed level. Shapiro also presented the scenario that the US may face when the nuclear deal begins to fall apart. We will likely see many European companies withdraw and Iran eventually withdraw in incremental steps from the JCPOA and return to the uranium enrichment while curtailing IAEA inspections – in short, at some point returning to the status of 2-3 months to breakout. If Iran returns to such a threshold status, and economic sanctions are ineffective, the US will likely need to make some major decisions regarding what to do, and this may raise the questions regarding military options.

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