Skip to main content

A Lesson for the Iran Deal from the North Korea Experience

Back to All Publications

Opponents of the nuclear deal that the United States and other global powers struck with Iran complain that the scope of the agreement is too narrow. The deal, they say, only covers Iran’s nuclear activities, ignoring Tehran’s other troubling behavior. This is not the first time this logic is being used against a nuclear agreement. It was one of the arguments made against the 1994 Agreed Framework between the US and North Korea. But expanding the goals of that accord came with risks and costs. To avoid similar problems, the US should avoid informally broadening the Iran agreement. Any expansion would have a better chance of acceptance if it goes through a process involving all affected parties.

The Agreed Framework came under attack from the US Congress almost immediately after it was signed in October 1994. Senators criticized the accord for not addressing a variety of non-nuclear issues ranging from North Korea’s missile program to terrorist activities to human rights violations. While the administration initially told Congress that the accord would provide an opening to deal with such problems, it could not keep the calls for expanding the deal at bay.

Read more.

View All Publications