In our recent policymaking simulation on the Iran Deal, we asked our nationwide Citizen Cabinet to consider the alternatives to making the deal. Among them is renegotiating the deal:

Proposal: The US Congress should reject the nuclear deal with Iran and do whatever it can to keep sanctions in place. Congress should tell the administration to try to renew negotiations with Iran so as to get better terms.  Negotiators would then seek to get even tighter limits on Iran’s enrichment activities, to extend time limits on the terms of the deal, and to ensure that IAEA inspectors have true anytime/anywhere inspections. Sanctions on Iran would remain in place or tightened further until a better deal is reached. With the threat of continued or increased sanctions and a greater resolve in the negotiations we will be effective in extracting more concessions. 

Fifty-nine percent found this to be Very or Somewhat convincing, including 80 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents.

Then a critique was presented:

This proposal is simply unrealistic.  It is extremely unlikely that the other permanent Members of the UN Security Council, especially China and Russia, after years of negotiations, would simply abandon the existing deal and reopen negotiations with Iran because the US changed its mind.  It is equally unlikely that Iran would agree to reopen negotiations or would be willing to show any greater flexibility.  Other countries that are already gearing up to do business with Iran are unlikely to want to reverse course because the US changed its mind.  Many countries would be annoyed with the US. The most likely scenario is that the sanctions against Iran would simply fall apart, and the US and its allies would be divided. In the end, Iran would be less constrained than it is now and much less constrained than it would be under the deal.

Sixty-seven found this Very or Somewhat convincing, including 58 percent of Republicans, 76 percent of Dems and 65 percent of independents.

Panelists were then asked two questions about likelihood of success. The first asked how likely it is that the P5+1 would agree to abandon the existing deal and return to negotiations. A 54 percent majority thought this unlikely, while 44 percent thought it likely. Majorities of Democrats (61 percent) and independents (53 percent) thought it unlikely, while the prospect divided Republicans.

Panelists were then asked,

“How likely do you think it is that Iran would agree to return to negotiations and would agree to make more concessions?”

An overwhelming majority – four in five thought this unlikely (79 percent). There was little difference in responses from Republicans, Dems and independents.

A full report of the survey’s results can be seen here.

You can also try the simulation for yourself, and let your members of Congress know what you’d like them to do about the deal… click here to start.