Vol. 9 No. 2 (2021): A Journal of Strategic Studies, Winter 2021

Iran Nuclear Deal: A Testimony Against Strategic Coercion

Amna Bibi
Graduate of Strategic Studies from the National Defense University (NDU), Islamabad
CISS Insight Journal Winter 2021
Published April 7, 2022
  • Iran Nuclear Deal,
  • JCPOA,
  • Strategic Coercion,
  • Diplomacy,
  • Uranium Enrichment,
  • Peace and Security,
  • IAEA
  • ...More
How to Cite
Amna Bibi. (2022). Iran Nuclear Deal: A Testimony Against Strategic Coercion. CISS Insight Journal, 9(2), P66-85. Retrieved from http://journal.ciss.org.pk/index.php/ciss-insight/article/view/210


Since it came under international scrutiny in 2003, the Iranian nuclear program has been seen as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. World powers have used a variety of strategies to bring Iranian nuclear activities under control and in compliance with the provisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards over the course of nearly two decades. From threats of military action to a spectrum of economic sanctions ranging from minor to practically crippling financial sanctions, political, and diplomatic isolation have been applied. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was signed (in 2015) after twelve years of unstable relations, coercive sanctions, and turbulent negotiations, was the first significant breakthrough towards a denuclearized Iran and its normalization of relations with the rest of the world. JCPOA provided a robust verification framework and transparency in Iranian nuclear activities for the first time since 2003. Signing of JCPOA was possible because the dominant US foreign policy approach had shifted from realism to liberal institutionalism1. Subsequently the US foreign policy reverted to essentially a realist outlook under the Republicans. Trump administration’s withdrawal from the treaty in 2018, was in the spirit of demanding more out of the treaty. It was done by reimposing the crippling sanctions which essentially reversed the progress made until JCPOA was signed. It made Iran to retaliate by incrementally violate the provisions of the agreed deal, IAEA protocols and advancing the research and development of nuclear material. This paper delves deeper into the merits and efficacy of the agreement, analyses the factors that played a role in its derailment, and discusses the relative efficacy of diplomacy—a liberal institutional approach as opposed to strategic coercion.