The Trump administration has not yet clarified its policy toward Iran, but there is no doubting its scepticism. In February the president repeated former national security advisor Michael Flynn's warning to Iran, that it was being 'put on notice'. Whatever this vague red line means, Iran shows no intention of changing the behaviour that fuels criticism of the nuclear deal, which limits the country's nuclear programme but nothing else. Iran is testing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles at an increased pace, harassing US ships in the Gulf, funnelling arms to rebels in Yemen and elsewhere in the region, propping up the Syrian regime and keeping dual citizens locked up on bogus charges. Meanwhile, Trump's ban on visitors from Iran, among other moves, has exacerbated distrust. The president does not seem intent on killing the nuclear deal, but he would seem to favour its demise if new sanctions were to cause Iran to abandon its commitments.
This corporate breakfast assessed the current status and future prospects of the nuclear deal and the other aspects of Iran's behaviour that concern the US.
Mark Fitzpatrick has headed the IISS Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme for the past 11 years. Since December 2015, he has also been Executive Director of the IISS–Americas office. He is the author of Asia's Latent Nuclear Powers: Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, Overcoming Pakistan's Nuclear Dangers and The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: Avoiding worst-case outcomes, as well as the editor of six books on countries and regions of proliferation concern. He has lectured throughout the world and is a frequent media commentator. He joined the IISS in 2005 after a 26-year career in the US Department of State, including as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation (acting).
This corporate breakfast was chaired by Dr Nicholas Redman, Director of Editorial, IISS. It took place in the Trafalgar Room, Arundel House, 13–15 Arundel Street, Temple Place, London WC2R 3DX.
This was an off-the-record discussion and by invitation only, for corporate members.