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Two Experts on Iran Discuss Nuclear Agreement After One Year

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Dr. Haleh Esfandiari, founding Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Dr. Rober S. Litwak, Vice President for Scholars and Director of International Security Studies at the Wilson Center give their assessments of the multi-national nuclear agreement with Iran — on its one-year anniversary.
The agreement, according to Litwak, is meeting its intended purpose of keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. But, the agreement has not addressed the internal human rights violations escalating in Iran. It was not intended to do so, according to Litwak. However, there is general misunderstanding of the general public about the extent and terms of the agreement.
The nuclear accord is a 15 year agreement that was limited to releasing embargoed Iranian funds in exchange for Iran not developing nuclear weapons and appropriate safeguards. The agreement did not address human rights concern.
While the U.S. and other countries are focusing on the limitations on nuclear weaponry, battling factions in Iran keep escalating human rights abuses, according to Esfandiari. She notes many people with dual citizenship are being targeted for detainment and arrests for “causing confusion in the public mind” and “spreading lies”.
Esfandiari, herself, was arrested by Iranian authorities in 2007 and kept in solitary confinement for 105 days.
In Iran, the Revolutionary Guards, who are responsible for most arrests, are not accountable to the President. Instead, they have allegiance to the Supreme Leader. The two factions have opposite purposes. Currently, there is about one execution per day in Iran, according to Esfandiari.
Litwak says America’s relationship with Iran is complex. Despite the human rights violations, the United States is not only trying to limit Iran’s weaponry but also is aligning with the Iranian government to fight ISIS in Iraq.
Litwak formerly served on the National Security Council staff in the first Clinton Administration as Director of Non-proliferation.