After eight straight days of diplomatic negotiations between six world powers and Iran, negotiators announced on Thursday a framework deal with Iran dismantling its nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions that have crippled Tehran’s economy.
Negotiators will now begin drafting a more detailed agreement in order to have it signed by all parties by the end of June.
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Iran also vowed to enrich nuclear materials only at one plant, while all the other nuclear facilities will be converted for other uses, said Federica Mogherini, foreign policy chief for the European Union.
The West, in turn, would lift its sanctions imposed on Iran after Tehran’s implementation of the deal is confirmed.
It’s a “good deal,” Obama said Thursday, calling it “a historic understanding with Iran which, if implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
“I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final deal, it will make our country and the world safer,” Obama said in his statement in the White House Rose Garden. He added that the agreement would “cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”
The deal, if it holds, would become President Barack Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement. Rapprochement was one of the Obama’s campaign promises, for which he was called ‘naive’. However, such move will undoubtedly attract criticism from a great number of Republicans as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is opposed to the negotiations with Iran.
What does the Iran nuclear deal say?
What the deal says is that Iran would have to dismantle two-thirds of its total 19,000 centrifuges down to 6,104, while only 5,060 of those can be used to enrich uranium over the next 10 years. Note: centrifuges are tube-shaped machines that turn natural uranium into highly enriched uranium, which is the most important ingredient to make a nuclear bomb. It was additionally agreed that Iran’s centrifuges will only enrich uranium to 3.67%, which is not enough to build a nuclear bomb.
Fordow, Iran’s biggest reactor that was kept hidden from the international community until the US revealed it in 2009, will stop enriching uranium for at least 15 years. Iran is allowed to do research and keep 1,000 centrifuges there.
“If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” President Obama said. “With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world.”
And Obama is right this time. The IAEA will have constant access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, supply chain, uranium mines and mills, in order to ensure that Iran doesn’t cheat on any deal. Iran will have to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites in case there are allegations of a covert enrichment facility, centrifuge production facility or any other forbidden activity anywhere in the country.
This rigorous transparency and inspection measures will continue even after many points of the deal have expired in 2025.
Now, the sanctions. The United States and the European Union will remove their sanctions after the IAEA has verified that Iran fulfills its end of the deal. Although it wasn’t reported whether the sanction will be lifted right away or gradually. The sanctions will come back if Iran violates the agreement.
Some reports indicate that Iran has been promised immediate relief from the sanctions, if it’s true – then Congress will make a stand against it and Obama will face a lot of criticism.
Israel Threatens To Bomb Iran
Israel’s intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz said Thursday that Israel will consider military action against Iran if it feels security of the Jewish state is at risk.
Speaking to a radio station, he said that “if we have no choice, we have no choice… the military option is on the table.” The Israeli government has sought to disrupt the 18 months-long diplomatic talks, saying that Tehran cannot be trusted.
Furthermore, Steinitz justified Israel’s eagerness to act alone and, if necessary, to neutralize what Israel sees as a threat from Tehran. He also reminded that Israel has unilaterally bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981. “This operation was not carried out in agreement with the United States,” he said.
Therefore, it is quite obvious that Israel will aggressively protest the deal, which may lead to unthinkable and destructive events.
And it doesn’t just end with Israel – Saudi Arabia will also likely to be aggressive about the deal.
Just when nuclear talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, began, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries launched a series of air strikes against the Houthis, Iran’s allies in Yemen. Furthermore, a coalition of Gulf-backed militant groups have gotten their first major victory in more than a year by seizing Idlib, the key Syrian town. Such moves are designed to demonstrate the US that its making a mistake by negotiating with Iran.
US has to make up its mind: they are with Iran in Iraq, but against Iran in Syria and Yemen. Furthermore, both the US and Iran see the militants of the Islamic State (ISIS) as their greatest enemy and yet they don’t talk about how to battle their common enemy. Such ambiguous policy doesn’t lead to anything good and is likely to create chaos in the region, which may ultimately lead to global conflicts such as World War 3.
The Saudis see Iran as their historic enemy and the US has been their ally for a long time. But it seems like they would risk their friendship with the US by waging further war against Iran. Therefore, if the world leaders hoped to just shake hands, smile and call it a day in Lausanne, the Saudis have bad news for them…