Professor Leverett calls Iran agreement ‘a very good deal’ for nuclear nonproliferation

SIA professor Flynt Leverett
SIA professor Flynt Leverett

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State School of International Affairs professor Flynt Leverett has long argued that the United States needs to realign its relations with Iran. This past week, he was in Vienna, to see the diplomacy his work advocated play out in Vienna as negotiators from Iran and the P5+1, which includes the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany, reached a landmark nuclear deal. Hailing the agreement as “a very good deal from a nonproliferation standpoint,” Leverett reacted to the groundbreaking agreement on the multimedia program Democracy Now:

Iran has achieved something very significant here, which is basically a recognition of the reality that states have a right to a peaceful use of civil nuclear technology in all respects. This is not a right that is granted by the Non-Proliferation Treaty; it is a sovereign right that’s recognized by the treaty. From an Iranian perspective, the United States and the Security Council tried for years to deny Iran that right. And now, without Iran having sacrificed it, the international community is recognizing that right, and I think that’s an important step on the nonproliferation front.

Leverett, coauthor with his wife Hillary Mann Leverett of Going to Tehran: Why America Must Accept the Islamic Republic of Iran, calls for further cooperation between the U.S. and Iran to confront the many challenges in the Middle East.

“If we want to get serious about conflict resolution in Syria, we need to be talking with and working in a serious way with Iran,” he said on Democracy Now. “The reality is, if the United States is going to have a more effective foreign policy in the Middle East—and, frankly, a more humane and constructive foreign policy in the Middle East—rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran is essential to that end.”

Prior to joining the Penn State School of International Affairs, Leverett served nine years as senior Middle East analyst at the CIA, was a Middle East specialist for the State Department, and served as director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council. He is an expert on the Middle East, international political economy, and Chinese foreign policy.

He has been quoted in the media extensively on the topic of the Iran nuclear negotiations:

Historic nuclear deal reached with Iran, CNN (transcript), July 14, 2015, 5:30 p.m.

Iran nuclear deal is done, CNN (transcript), July 14, 2015, 5:00 p.m.

Iran nuclear deal is done, CNN (transcript), July 14, 2015, 4:30 p.m.

Iran nuclear deal is done, CNN (transcript), July 14, 2015, 4:00 p.m.

Could historic Iran nuclear deal transform the Middle East?, Democracy Now, July 14, 2015

US stretching Iran talks over domestic issues: Pundit, Press TV, July, 14, 2015.

With historic Iran nuclear deal expected, can President Obama sell it to Congress and the public? Democracy Now, July 13, 2015.

In Vienna, some Americans back Iran’s positions in nuclear talks, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Wire, July 13, 2015.

Obama’s Posturing Risks Iran-Nuke Deal, Consortium News, July 11, 2015.

Demanding what you can’t get: Obama’s gamble with the Iran talks in Vienna, The Huffington Post, July 10, 2015.

Risking a Jihadi victory in Syria, Consortium News, July 10, 2015.

Obama’s failure to make the strategic case for an Iran nuclear deal,, July 10, 2015

The Iran deal’s strategic Payoff, Consortium News, July 8, 2015.

This expert remains hopeful of an Iran deal, CNBC Squawk Box, July 7, 2015.

For more from the Leveretts on Iran policy, visit their blog Going to Tehran.