Burns: First Year Critical to Deal’s Durability

Burns: First Year Critical to Deal’s Durability Burns: First Year Critical to Deal’s Durability

Former US deputy secretary of state William Burns said implementing the Iran nuclear deal the first year will be critical to ensuring its durability.

The parties "have got to establish a solid track record of implementation," said Burns in a recent interview with Al-Monitor.

If over that year there is solid execution of the accord and swift action to reverse any breaches or tests of ambiguities, that will help build confidence and insulate the deal from any attempts by would-be spoilers to derail it, and deepen stakeholders' investment in the deal, including by the new US administration that comes into office in 2017.

"The Iranians will inevitably test the provisions of the deal, and that's why a rigorous commitment to execution is so important for the US and our partners right from the start," said Burns, now president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"I keep coming back to implementation," Burns said. "There is no substitute."

He also said unless the deal goes smoothly, there will be little space to potentially talk with the Iranians on other issues.

Some European allies of the US have expressed interest in seeing if they could build on the momentum of the Iran nuclear deal and employ the P5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) Iran model, possibly adding Saudi Arabia or other regional players, to tackle regional crises. But it may be premature to move on to that yet, European officials say.

"The Iran deal could really be a 'format' for other crises, but it's too early to imagine a concrete initiative," a spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told Al-Monitor by email on Monday. "For sure, the [High Representative Mogherini] is a strong advocate of multilateralism and of the need to involve all the main actors of the region to try to find a solution for Syria and for fighting [the Islamic State militant group]."