On Sunday, Iran, the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia signed an interim agreement that would place Iran’s nuclear program on hold as negotiators try and work out a more permanent deal. In a sense it’s an agreement to try and reach an agreement. During the six month window, Iran has agreed to stop work on its heavy water reactor, to not add new centrifuges (that’s what’s used to enrich unranium) and to agree to daily inspections. In return some sanctions are reduced and Iran get’s access to $3.6 billion dollars in frozen assets. We discuss the deal.

Janine Zacharia, visiting lecturer, Stanford University; former Jerusalem bureau chief and Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post
Golnaz Esfandiari, senior correspondent, Radio Free Europe; editor of Persian Letters blog

  • Guest

    Khameni and Rouhani pulled the proverbial persian rug out from under Obama and Kerry. In exchange for surrendering the US’s diplomatic leverage and saving Iran’s totalitarian regime from imminent economic collapse, Iran didn’t make a single substantial concession on its nuclear weapons program: (1) Despite Kerry’s credibility-straining insistence that the deal didn’t recognize Iran’s “right” to enrich uranium, which was vociferously contradicted by both Iran and Russia, the deal *explicitly* grants Iran the right to continue enriching uranium to 5% fissile strength, so Iran will continue producing massive stockpiles of enriched uranium which can quickly be converted to weapons grade before anyone can react. (2) The deal allows Iran to completely avoid any inspections at the Parchin nuclear plant, where intelligence sources have indicated that Iran has a weaponization program to produce a nuclear payload. (3) The deal doesn’t require Iran to disclose any of its additional hidden nuclear sites to the IAEA, the existence of which were indicated in the last IAEA report. (4) The deal doesn’t stop Iran from continuing to develop hundreds of uranium-enriched “dirty bombs”. (5) While the deal does stop Iran from adding additional centrifuges to their ongoing enrichment programs, Iran remains free to to continue producing thousands of nuclear centrifuges to be on standby readiness for whenever they choose to “breakout” like North Korea. Iran’s continuing enrichment, concealment, and massive-scale production of nuclear centrifuges says all anybody needs to know about the value of this deal, and Iran’s confidence in the outcome of further negotiations.

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