Senior Research Fellow, The Heritage Foundation
James Phillips is a senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation.
President-Elect Biden has made it clear that he is committed to reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Doing so would reward a hostile dictatorship that has repeatedly reneged on its nonproliferation obligations, violated international laws, and pocketed past concessions without moderating its aggressive foreign policy. Returning to the JCPOA would perpetuate the same old problems inherent in that discredited arrangement. Moreover, it would squander the bargaining leverage amassed by the Trump Administration and reduce the chances of negotiating a follow-on agreement to fill the dangerous gaps in the JCPOA. The U.S. should maintain sanctions until Iran agrees to a more restrictive new agreement that includes Iran’s ballistic missile program, requires Iran to disclose its past nuclear weapons efforts, does a better job of protecting the interests of Israel and Arab allies, and is codified in a treaty.