Ideas. Action. Results.

Are We Heading Towards a Bad Deal with Iran?


WHEN: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, AL

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President Obama and the P5+1 negotiators have repeatedly stated that when it comes to the Iranian nuclear negotiations, “no deal is better than a bad deal.” But are the negotiations heading towards a bad deal?

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) held a timely lunch discussion in Rayburn House Office Building Room B-318.

The in-depth discussion featured leading nuclear nonproliferation expert, David Albright; FDD Executive Director and sanctions expert, Mark Dubowitz; former deputy director of the IAEA, Dr. Olli Heinonen; and former senior advisor on Iran at the Department of State, Dr. Ray Takeyh. FPI Executive Director Chris Griffin will moderate the discussion.

These experts addressed, among other topics, key components that should be present in any “good deal,” including strict limits on Iran’s enrichment capacity, methods to address ballistic missiles, and effective verification and monitoring mechanisms. A good deal would include a lengthy sunset clause and require disclosure of all previous activities, including the possible military dimensions of Iran’s program. The panel also addressed Congress’s role in constructing and overseeing a smart sanctions architecture of effective enforcement and relief.


David Albright, a physicist, is founder and President of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, D.C. He has written numerous assessments on secret nuclear weapons programs throughout the world. He and ISIS have closely tracked the Iranian nuclear program for many years, deriving technical analysis and policy solutions for resolving the crisis. Albright has testified numerous times on nuclear issues before the U.S. Congress. He is regularly called on to train decision-makers in the United States and abroad in technical matters and non-proliferation policy making. The media frequently cite Albright, and he appears often on television and radio. Albright has co-authored four books, including 2010’s Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies, listed by The Atlantic as one of the best foreign affairs books of 2010.

Mark Dubowitz is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan policy institute, where he leads projects on Iran, sanctions, nonproliferation, and countering electronic repression. Dubowitz is an expert on sanctions and has testified before Congress and advised the U.S. administration, Congress, and numerous foreign governments on Iran sanctions issues. He is the co-author of fourteen confidential reports on economic sanctions against Iran provided by FDD to the U.S. government and four public reports. Dubowitz is also a co-chair of the Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy, a nonpartisan project co-chaired by five nonproliferation and sanctions experts, which produced a 2013 report on U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East. Dubowitz is a senior research fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto where he teaches a graduate course and conducts research on international negotiations, economic sanctions, and Iran’s nuclear program.

Olli Heinonen served 27 years at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Dr. Heinonen was the Deputy Director General of the IAEA, and head of its Department of Safeguards. Prior to that, he was director at the Agency’s various operational divisions, and an inspector including at the IAEA’s overseas office in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Heinonen led teams of international investigators to examine nuclear programs of concern around the world and inspected nuclear facilities in South Africa, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, seeking to ensure that nuclear materials were not diverted for military purposes. He led the Agency’s efforts to identify and dismantle nuclear proliferation networks, including the one led by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, and he oversaw its efforts to monitor and contain Iran’s nuclear program. Dr. Heinonen is now a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is the author of several articles, chapters of books, books, and other publications ranging from the IAEA and nuclear non-proliferation issues to regional nuclear developments. His writings and interviews have been published in various newspapers and magazines including: Foreign Policy, The Wall Street Journal, Arms Control Today, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, and TIME.

Dr. Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and adjunct professor at Georgetown University. His areas of specialization are Iran, political reform in the Middle East, and Islamist movements and parties. Prior to joining the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Takeyh was senior advisor on Iran at the Department of State. He is the author of The Guardians of the Revolution: Iran’s Approach to the World (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic (Henry Holt, 2006). Dr. Takeyh has testified frequently in front various congressional committees and appears regularly on radio and television and has been published, including articles in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, among others.

Chris Griffin joined the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) as Executive Director in January 2013. Previously, he served as legislative director to Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT), advising the senator on the full range of legislative proposals and key votes. Between 2008 and 2011, he was Senator Lieberman’s military legislative assistant, in which capacity he developed the senator’s legislative agenda as a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and chairman of its Airland Subcommittee. Prior to joining Senator Lieberman’s staff, Mr. Griffin was a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy (2005-2008), where he focused on U.S. foreign and defense policy toward the Asia-Pacific. During his time at AEI, Griffin was also a contributing editor to the Armed Forces Journal, writing feature articles on international defense industrial cooperation and a monthly column titled the “Blogs of War.” Griffin’s writings have been published in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.

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