A general view of a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Vienna

Options and Objectives for the Iranian Nuclear Negotiations


Given the advanced state of the Iranian nuclear program, it seems that there are few feasible options for preventing Iran from acquiring a weapon. No deal would prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state, but it’s still possible to slow progress and shrink the breakout window. Given the circumstances, the best option going forward would be to negotiate a long term, invasive inspection regime into all current and future nuclear facilities. This would provide the U.S. and its allies with critical insight into Iran’s program and allow advanced warning of breakout potential. Further, the United States should ensure that robust ballistic missile defense programs are in place to counter the threat of Iranian missiles, which are unlikely to be part of a new comprehensive agreement. Sanctions must also be fully leveraged to gain concessions from the Iranian government.