Are the JCPOA Negotiations On Their Last Legs?

More than a year has passed since Joe Biden took office and the United States has yet to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA. While U.S. and European powers are warning that time is running out and hint at a potential shift toward a Plan B, Tehran insists that assurances must be provided that the United States will honor its commitments to the agreement this time around. The Raisi government has proven a more uncompromising counterpart than its predecessor and the Biden negotiating team has few insights into its calculations and political limitations. What are the political constraints of the Raisi government and how do they shape Iran’s negotiating position? How has the economic impact of America’s maximum pressure shaped the politics of Iran, and in extension, Tehran’s diplomatic maneuverability? And what options do the U.S. and its European allies have if the JCPOA talks collapse?

To answer these questions, the Quincy Institute is pleased to host a discussion featuring Nathalie Tocci, Special Advisor to EU High Representative Josep Borrell; Hadi Kahalzadeh, Ph.D. fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University; and Narges Bajoghli, Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Quincy Institute Executive Vice President Trita Parsi will moderate.


Nathalie Tocci

Nathalie Tocci is Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen and Pierre Keller Visiting Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is Special Advisor to EU High Representative and Vice President of the Commission Josep Borrell. As Special Advisor to HRVP Federica Mogherini she wrote the European Global Strategy and worked on its implementation. She has been a member of Eni's Board of Directors since May 2020. Previously she held research positions at the Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels, the Transatlantic Academy, Washington and the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Florence.

Hadi Kahalzadeh

Hadi Kahalzadeh is a Ph.D. fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University. He studies the impact of economic sanctions on Iran’s social welfare particularly poverty, inequality, and vulnerability in Iran. Prior to joining Brandeis University, Kahalzadeh worked as an economist with the Department of Economic and Social Planning in the Social Security Organization of Iran (SSO) for a decade. He also served as a member of the Central Committee for several political parties and civil society pro-democratic organizations in Iran between 1999 and 2011.

Narges Bajoghli

Narges Bajoghli is Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). She is an award-winning anthropologist, scholar, and writer. Narges' academic research is at the intersections of media and power in Iran and the United States. Her first book, Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic(Stanford University Press 2019), focused on regime cultural producers in Iran, and was based on ethnographic research with Basij, Ansar-e Hezbollah, and Revolutionary Guard media producers. She is currently writing a book on survivors of chemical warfare from the Iran-Iraq war.

Trita Parsi (Moderator)

Trita Parsi, PhD, is an award-winning author and the 2010 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. He is an expert on U.S.-Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East. He has authored three books on US foreign policy in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Iran and Israel. He is the co-founder and former President of the National Iranian American Council. He received his PhD in foreign policy at Johns Hopkins’ School for Advanced International Studies, a Master's Degree in International Relations from Uppsala University, and a Master's Degree in Economics from the Stockholm School of Economics.