Required Essay 5 (RE5)


You are a writer for Scientific American, and your editor has assigned you to provide a brief report on some of the key aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. This report should serve as a high quality summary of the major points of the agreement, both in terms of Iran’s commitments in regards to proliferation as well as the promised responses of the other actors involved. Writing this essay should also help you familiarize yourself with the content of the JCPOA.


Most, if not all, of the content of your report can come from the following source::

  1. “Iran Nuclear Agreement” (CRS report)

Additional resources can include the following, though you can also look elsewhere if necessary:

  1. “Explainer: The Iran Nuclear Deal”

  2. “Verification and Monitoring in the Islamic Republic of Iran in light of United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 (2015)”


Your report should address the following questions:

  • Who are the negotiating parties?

  • What are the relevant nuclear facilities in Iran?

  • How does the JCPOA address the plutonium pathway to nuclear weapons?

  • How does the JCPOA address the uranium pathway to nuclear weapons?

  • What does the JCPOA stipulate for the different facilities?

  • What does  the JCPOA say with regards to the missile program in Iran?

  • Which sanctions on Iran are lifted in return?


It is up to you to choose how to organize this information clearly and logically. Your report should have the following structure.

  • An appropriate title, centered and in bold, 16pt font

  • An introductory section (without an “Introduction” heading) giving basic background on the deal

    • This may address one or more of the questions above, but it does not have to.

    • This may describe the sanctions in place against Iran prior to the JCPOA.

  • Two or more sections addressing the remaining questions

    • It is up to you to determine how many sections to include, what to cover in them, and how to title them.

    • Each section should begin with a left-aligned section heading in bold, 14pt font.

  • No conclusion section necessary - most Scientific American articles do not include a separate conclusion


Further guidance:

  • Use active voice.

    • The sample articles included below may use passive voice, but for this class you will lose points for doing so.

  • You will be graded on the content and clarity of your writing, not the number of words.

  • Avoid unnecessary words, especially adjectives and adverbs. A news report should present the facts of the case concisely and clearly.

  • A report of this length has no room for telling the reader what you will do or for repetition—just say what you want to say, once.


Your report should be at least 2.5 pages in length, but must not be longer than 3 pages when printed in the format specified in the Student Handbook. This includes the title, headers, and footers. To check this, you should print the exact version you are going to submit. If your paper is longer than 3 pages when printed, the score it would have received will be marked down heavily.


The Student Handbook provides complete guidance for preparing and submitting writing assignments. Before you turn in your essay, be sure to review the writing assignment submission checklist in the Handbook.




In writing your report, assume that your audience is generally curious about science and is familiar with scientific concepts at a high-school or early-college level. To get a sense of how Scientific American presents information and the style of its news and policy reporting, you may consult the following articles as examples:


Citation of sources:


Articles in Scientific American, and in news outlets in general, often do not include citations in the text of an article. Also, since you are mainly using material from a single article, you are not required to cite material from the CRS report on the Iran Nuclear Deal. When we grade your essay, we will assume unless stated otherwise that material comes from that report.


This does not mean you can pull large sections of text from the report and use them with no changes in your paper. If you do include any direct quotes or material from other sources beyond the report, you may cite them simply by including the number of the source in brackets after a statement in need of citation rather than a traditional citation. If you use a source other than those listed above, please include a more complete citation so we can identify the source.

  • Example 1: This statement requires citation [3].

  • Example 2: “A direct quote from a source also requires a citation” [1].

Do not include a bibliography or a list of references.