I spoke with my Iranian friend about his feelings towards the Nuclear Deal and he is hoping that it goes through, excited at the fact that his country may soon be more connected with the rest of the world. His family and friends have not had as many opportunities as they could have because revolution impeded growth and subsequently, the sanctions prevented import of technology. Without even an American embassy to Iran, citizens in the country looking to get a visa to America must first get a visa to its neighboring country in order to travel there to apply for a US visa. Such is the state of relations between the two countries.
After arduous talks that spanned 20 months, as reported by CNN, negotiators have reached a landmark deal aimed at reining in Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement, a focal point of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, appears set to reshape relations between Iran and the West, with its effects likely to ripple across the volatile Middle East.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday “relief of sanctions will only start when Tehran has met the commitments of this nuclear agreement,” including the removal and destruction of the Arak nuclear reactor core, and shipping uranium stockpiles abroad. Then sanctions relief will begin in stages, Kerry said. A U.N. weapons embargo will remain in place for five years, as reported by USA Today.
It was also reported by USA Today that Iran’s 20,000 installed enrichment machines, including 10,000 that were running in 2013, will be reduced to about 5,000 for 10 years, while research and development on more efficient machines will be limited. Iran agreed to dilute or convert its entire stockpile of medium-enriched uranium into another form that would be monitored by international inspectors, and to ship its stockpile of low enriched uranium to another country. Iran agreed to repurpose the Fordow facility to isotope production and nuclear research rather than uranium enrichment, Kerry said Tuesday. The same process can also be used to enrich uranium. Hundreds of uranium enrichment machines in Fordow will be idled but not dismantled. Iran agreed to remove and destroy the core of the Arak reactor, Kerry said. Iran also agreed not to build a plutonium reprocessing plant, and to convert Arak “so it could only be used for peaceful purposes.”
It had taken a long while because of calls to inspect Iran’s military bases, where there were accusations of nuclear development. The deal allows inspectors to access “any site they deem suspicious,” according to a fact sheet released by the White House. Iranian objections to some visits will be handled through a dispute settlement process, according to the agreement. International monitoring will cover Iran’s entire uranium supply chain, including mines, processing and enrichment facilities, reactors and spent fuel, Obama said.
Regardless of the specifics, it can only spell progress for Iran. My friend is happy.