Expert in Iranian Politics Coming to Campus

Photo courtesy of the Loomis Chaffee Communications Office

Photo courtesy of the Loomis Chaffee Communications Office

On Wednesday, February 22, Loomis will host Dr. Payam Mohseni, Director of the Iran Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, as part of the Bussel Family International Lecture Series. In his presentation, Dr. Mohseni will address the JCPA (more colloquially known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) and examine the polarizing agreement’s potential global ramifications. As a fluent Persian speaker and frequent traveler to Iran, Dr. Mohseni provides an interesting perspective. His extensive foreign policy experience and personal familiarity with both American and Iranian politics and culture make him uniquely qualified to comment on the JCPA from the perspectives of two of the principal powers involved in the accord. His presentation will take place from 7:00 to 8:15 pm in Gilchrist and is sure to be a can’t-miss event for anyone interested in politics and global affairs.

For those unfamiliar, the JCPA is an agreement to curb the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. The deal was reached in Vienna in July of 2015 between E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) and Iran. Under the agreement, Iran pledged to eliminate completely its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and reduce the number of gas centrifuges in the country by two-thirds. For fifteen years after the accord’s signing, Iran has agreed not to enrich uranium beyond 3.67% and to submit its nuclear facilities to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Association to ensure that the terms of the agreement are being honored. In return for abiding by the terms of the JCPA, Iran will receive relief from economic sanctions previously imposed on the nation in response to its nuclear program by the United Nations, United States, and European Union.

From its inception, the JCPA has been controversial, with detractors arguing that the terms of the deal were not strict enough to significantly reduce the risk of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons in the near future. For its part, the Obama administration has defended the deal, stating that they believe it would significantly increase breakout time, or the time necessary for Iran to build a nuclear weapon, enough to give the international community sufficient opportunity to discover and respond to the threat. To the end of Obama’s tenure, the agreement has been one of the most divisive decisions made by the Obama administration, and the Loomis community will likely be equally divided in its assessment of this issue. Dr. Mohseni’s presentation will be a uniquely valuable opportunity to learn more about the deal and to examine its implications in a global context.