The Iran nuclear deal as a new model for international lawmaking.

Author:Jonas, David S.
Position:Proceedings of the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law: Charting New Frontiers in International Law

This panel was convened at 9:00 a.m., Thursday, March 31, 2016, by its moderator David Koplow of Georgetown University Law Center, who introduced the panelists: Asli Bali of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law; Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association; Newell Highsmith of the U.S. Department of State Office of the Legal Adviser; and Dave Jonas of Georgetown University Law Center. *


By David S. Jonas ([dagger])

A sincere thank you to the American Society of International Law for the invitation to speak at this conference and to Professor Koplow, the panel moderator. He is a top scholar and true friend.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement is a disaster that will play out as a slow moving train wreck. It is President Obama's attempt to finally earn his Nobel Peace Prize, apparently awarded in anticipation of great deeds in the nonproliferation realm. My suggestion upon the conclusion of this deal? Take the Nobel back.

This administration loves the United Nations and international law. Many in this audience are undoubtedly sympathetic with that view. Yet why would the president reward Iran for flouting numerous UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCR), constituting international law?

For example, UNSCR 1929 prohibited Iranian enrichment of uranium, yet Iran was merrily enriching uranium in direct contravention of this mandate. Iran has gone unpunished for blatant violations of international law--and was rewarded by this deal--providing international legal cover for its enrichment program. What kind of negotiations reward serial violations of international law?

The administration has been a firm believer in the consistent policy of American administrations for over fifty years: no enrichment or reprocessing (ENR) for states with which we engage in nuclear trade. This administration went so far as to coin the term "gold standard" for this concept, and applies it even to allies like South Korea. Indeed, Article IV of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), while crystal clear on the right of Non-Nuclear Weapon States (such as Iran) to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, is ambiguous on the right to ENR. Say what you will about Donald Trump, but when he mocks this agreement, he is on to something. Now the United States can no longer deny ENR to any state.

This deal proves the saying that "if you want it bad, you'll get it bad." It was obvious how much the president wanted an agreement...

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