Pros and Cons of Iran Nuclear Deal

Mehraan Keval
May 15, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2018

Fig. 1: World leaders coming together to negotiate the Iran Nuclear Deal (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

There is no question that the Iranian Nuclear Deal will change the course of history. While debates rage across the United States amongst the political leaders of both parties, I believe that the Iranian Nuclear deal was a necessary step for the United States and for ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The deal, while admittedly flawed, will prevent Iran from obtaining a weapon of mass destruction for at least 10-15 years. While it does not remove the threat completely, with the leading intelligence estimating that Iran was only two years away from nuclear capability at the time the deal was struck, one must ask, is there really a better alternative? In this summary I will first break down the specifics of the deal and discuss simultaneously the benefits and potential dangers of the Iranian Nuclear deal. The deal, negotiated by former Secretary of State John Kerry and Javad Zarif (see Fig. 1), calls on Iran to either dilute or export its existing enriched uranium in order to ensure that it does not have enough to build a nuclear weapon. Furthermore, it stipulates that Iran would have to convert its currently under construction nuclear reactor to one that could not potentially fuel a plutonium based weapon.

Benefits of Iran Nuclear Deal

The clearest and most relevant pro of the Iranian nuclear deal, already alluded to earlier in this summary, is that it will postpone Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon for at least 10 years. Harold Brown, former Secretary of Defense under the Carter administration, asserted in an article written for the Washington Post, that before the deal, Iran was but two years away from a nuclear weapon. [1] The fact that they were so close to establishing a weapon necessitated some framework for agreement between the US and Iran. Irans potential possession of a weapon would undermine nuclear non-proliferation efforts and would likely be the impetus for other powerful states in the Middle East to pursue the same technology. [1] In July of 2015, Iran had almost 20,000 centrifuges, but under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it will be limited to installing no more than 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient centrifuges at Natanz for the next ten years. [2] The potential for escalation in Middle Eastern conflicts with nuclear technology in the mix makes this deal extremely important in maintaining global peace.

Negatives of Iran Nuclear Deal

Opponents of the deal argue that the deal will ultimately establish a strong nuclear infrastructure in Iran, but Sharon Squassoni, director of the Proliferation Prevention Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, refutes this claim with the assertion that any deal requires compromise, and furthermore the imminent threat at the hands of the current nuclear infrastructure necessitated the deal. Those who are skeptical of the deal also argue that the inspections process provides ample time for the Iranians to cheat. The proponents of the deal argue that large scale cheating will be easily detected, and that the Iranians compromised as well by allowing access to [their] scientists and military sites. [3] I believe the most relevant con resulting from this deal comes from Irans support of terrorist organizations. With the acceptance of the deal and lifting of US Sanctions, Iran will be able to reconvene trade with the EU, with China, with countries that are big buyers of oil. [3] This type of economic game-changer for Iran may result in an economically whole Iran, and with Iran's propensity for, and history of supporting terrorist organizations (Hezbollah and other militant organizations), this is a far more legitimate and applicable concern than the ones mentioned above.


Ultimately, the Iranian Nuclear deal is a flawed but necessary step in our country's history. I believe that the prevention of an Iranian nuclear weapon in the next two years far outweighs the potential for destruction in the future.

© Mehraan Keval. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] H. Brown, "Why Accepting the Iran Nuclear Deal Is a No-brainer," Washington Post, 13 Aug 15.

[2] "Iran Nuclear Deal: Key Details," BBC News, 13 Oct17.

[3] N. Easton, "What the Iran Nuclear Deal Actually Means," Fortune, 21 Jul 15.