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Iran and the US—A Critical Juncture

March 24, 2021


  • Chris Murphy, US Senator (D-CT)
  • Narges Bajoghli, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins SAIS
  • Vali Nasr, Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs, Johns Hopkins SAIS

The school’s Rethinking Iran series hosted a fireside chat on US-Iran relations.

Murphy began the discussion by noting that the Biden administration is committed to reentering the JCPOA, from which the Trump administration withdrew the United States. Murphy stated that President Trump worsened the regional situation with this move, but Iran has not helped itself since then. To re-facilitate America’s entry into the agreement, Murphy called for a variety of steps, including a recalibration with America’s allies, taking the first step towards Iran, and not waiting on Republicans to support the deal. Murphy reminded the audience that the JCPOA is not a formal treaty that needed the approval of Congress, and thus the executive branch should continue to take the initiative.

During the discussion’s Q&A, Murphy noted that the US is no longer viewed as credible in the eyes of its allies, and that reentering the JCPOA would be the first step in regaining the world’s confidence. As to the region in general, the Senator believed the Carter Doctrine is mostly expired, with the US having achieved energy independence. In tandem, the Senator wished to see a recalibration of defense ties with leading US allies in the region, as the US should deal with states not individuals, champion human rights, and remove American troops no longer needed in the region/harm’s way. The Senator concluded by calling for an increase in developmental instead of military aid to the region.