The US Congress, President Obama and the negotiations on the Iranian Nuclear Program

An American debate
A panel discussion at the German Bundestag at the invitation of Mr Johann Wadephul (CDU), member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in cooperation with the Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin

When: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 1.00 – 2.45 p.m.

Where: Paul Löbe-Haus, Platz der Republik, 1, 11011 Berlin


Mark Hibbs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C. and

Mark Dubowitz, Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), Washington D.C.


The event is in English


There is a consensus in American politics that every nuclear arming of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to be prevented.

But on the question of how this goal could be reached, after the Congressional elections in November 2014  a controversy is flared between the administration and the two chambers of parliament.

President Barack Obama sees the deal parameters as an “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”. He considers the provisorial aggrement of Lausanne to be the “best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon”. He considers the legislative initiative of the Congress for further sanctions against Iran as a threat to the current P5 + 1 talks to resolve the nuclear issue until 30 June.

The two chambers of the US Congress rely on time-bound, monthly expanding sanctions to get Iran to make concessions in a comprehensive agreement. The bill by Senators Mark Kirk (Republican) and Robert Menendez (Democrat) plans sanctions against Iran and its trading partners only if up to date no negotiation result.

However, there are strong differences of the manner in which a concession of the West enables an agreement with Iran and reduce regional tensions or situation causes that could destabilize the Middle East.

In this panel discussion, we want to map the two perspectives of the American debate, respond to the state of the P5 + 1 talks and discuss the resulting scenarios. The outcome of the debate is of considerable interest, not least for the German politics and economy.