- Professor Michael Newton, Vanderbilt Law
After one year of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action assessments and critiques, have American security interests been damaged? Is Iranian gamesmanship ephemeral, or durably threatening? Critics point to evasions of the JCPOA like the easing of economic sanctions and the un-reviewed arms deals and contracts with Russia to say that the “deal” has only served as cover for Iranian nuclear infractions. Is the U.S. Congress empowered to demand a better deal, even after a year of performance and European reliance on a return to the status quo ante for financial re-engagement with Iran? Are there historic precedents for resetting the terms? In light of coming sunset clauses that may see Iran at near zero break-out time, what leverage potential does NATO possess, and do any “snap back” sanctions represent real restraining power?
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but the treaty did not go into effect because the Senate refused to ratify it. Twenty years later, the Obama administration still favors ratification of the treaty as part of its nuclear disarmament strategy. President Obama appears to be attempting to go around the Senate by signing a U.N. Security Council Resolution that would, according to a National Security Council spokesman, “call on states not to test and support the CTBT’s objectives,” but would not be legally binding. Professor Kontorovich of Northwestern University School of Law and Professor Spiro of Temple Law School joined us to debate the international & national security law implications of these actions.
Jamil N. Jaffer explains the legal implications of the US State Department's payment of $400 million to Iran in light of US sanctions against the country. Prof. Jaffer also explores further questions: Was the payment "ransom"? Was it legal?
Mr. Jaffer is an Adjunct Professor and Director of the Homeland and National Security Law Program at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.