Declaration on the JCPOA
"GRF International Task Force on the Future of the Nuclear Deal with Iran"
17 March 2017
On 4-5 March, the Global Relations Forum (GRF) International Task Force, of which we are all members, held its second and final meeting in Istanbul to reflect on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the Iran nuclear deal - concluded by Iran and the P5+1 on 14 July 2015. We noted that despite the predictable challenges of executing an ambitious and technically complex deal, it has so far been implemented successfully.
As confirmed by the IAEA, Iran has taken the steps it had committed to under the JCPOA to reassure the international community about its nuclear program, including through removing 13,000 centrifuges, disposing of all but 300kg of its 8,000kg stockpile of enriched uranium, and extracting the core of the plutonium-fueled research reactor at Arak. The IAEA has begun an inspection and monitoring regime of unprecedented depth and has reported that Iran has kept within the tight limits set out in the agreement.
The P5+1 in turn have rolled back their nuclear-related sanctions as they committed to do. Inevitably it is taking time for international businesses to resume normal trading and investment relations with Iran but we are optimistic that, over time, this will happen.
Despite this, the nuclear agreement has critics in two key capitals: Washington and Tehran. With a change of administration in the US and the impending elections in Iran, it is not difficult to imagine circumstances in which the nuclear agreement could still fail.
As a diverse group of experts - from different nations and with many differing views about the rights and wrongs of the past - none of us hesitated to rally around a few beliefs strongly held by us all.
First and foremost, we were unanimous that although the deal is not perfect, there appears to be no chance of securing a better one at present. It looks highly unlikely that either side could be compelled to enter a new negotiation which would lead to a different result. It is this or no deal in the near future. And the latter would bring us back to a path that could easily lead to miscalculation and a new disaster in the Middle East.
Second, all parties to the deal have therefore to fulfill their obligations in good faith. The nuclear deal will be durable only if it brings benefit to both sides: that means Iran continuing to deliver on its nuclear commitments and the P5+1 doing all it can to ensure sanctions relief in practice as well as in theory. We call on the parties to the deal to reaffirm their full commitment to it: silence is not enough.
Finally, we believe there are ways in which the international community could build on the JCPOA to increase confidence and therefore security. We look forward to releasing a report with concrete ideas in this direction later this year.
Task Force Members
Hikmet Çetin – Turkey
Former Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Former NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan
Simon Gass – United Kingdom
Ambassador (Ret.); Former Political Director, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Former NATO Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan
François Heisbourg – France
Chairman, Geneva Centre for Security Policy; Chair, IISS Council
Nasser Hadian Jazy – Iran
Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Law and Political Sciences at the University of Tehran
Memduh Karakullukçu – Turkey
Vice-Chairman and President, Global Relations Forum
Sönmez Köksal – Turkey
Ambassador (Ret.); Former Undersecretary of State in Charge of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization
Li Bin – People’s Republic of China
Senior Associate, Nuclear Policy Program & Asia Program at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center; Professor of International Relations, Tsinghua University
David Menashri – Israel
Professor Emeritus, Tel Aviv University; Founding Director, Alliance Center for Iranian Studies; Senior Research Fellow, Tel Aviv University Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
Steven E. Miller – United States of America
Director of the International Security Program, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Chair, Pugwash Executive Commmittee
Vladimir Orlov – Russian Federation
Former President and Executive Board Member, PIR Center; Head of the Center for Global Trends and International Organizations, Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Gary Samore – United States of America
Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Former White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Özdem Sanberk – Turkey
Ambassador (Ret.); Former Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Rakesh Sood – India
Ambassador (Ret.); Former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Issues
Yaşar Yakış – Turkey
Ambassador (Ret.); Former Minister of Foreign Affairs