After a night of marathon talks ending at 6 a.m., the preliminary Iran nuclear agreement was finally hashed out. Talks extended past a March 31 deadline and must now reach a final conclusion by the end of June.
“It is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives,” President Obama said. “This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”
It is supposed to prevent Iran from “cheating” as well. “If Iran cheats,” Obama said, “the world will know it.”
If the deal is followed as it currently stands, Iran will reduce stockpiles of enriched uranium and installed centrifuges, while the West will lift economic sanctions. Iranian enrichment activities will be acceptable in one location only.
However, the limits last only ten to fifteen years, after which time Iran will be able to have as much enriched uranium and as many enriching plants as it wants. In the meantime, the country must keep its uranium levels low enough that it would take a year to acquire enough for a weapon and have inspections to verify cooperation with the deal.
For a full list of the parameters of the deal, click here.
Secretary of State John Kerry warned that sanctions can always be replaced. “And if we find out at any point that Iran is not complying with the agreement, the sanctions can snap back into place,” he said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said there was “mutual mistrust” during the dealings. “Iran-U.S. relations had nothing to do with this. This was an attempt to resolve the nuclear issue…. We have serious differences with the United States,” he said.
However, he seemed to have a different understanding of the number of acceptable enrichment locations. “None of those measures include closing any of our facilities. The proud people of Iran would never accept that,” he said.
Many American and Israeli leaders have grave concerns over the deal. “The President says negotiators have cleared the basic threshold needed to continue talks, but the parameters for a final deal represent an alarming departure from the White House’s initial goals,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said.
“It would be naïve to suggest the Iranian regime will not continue to use its nuclear program, and any economic relief, to further destabilize the region,” Boehner said.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker pointed out that “the administration first should seek the input of the American people.”
“If a final agreement is reached, the American people, through their elected representatives, must have the opportunity to weigh in to ensure the deal truly can eliminate the threat of Iran’s nuclear program and hold the regime accountable,” Corker said.
“Iran remains the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. Iranian aggression is destabilizing the Middle East. And Iran continues to hold multiple Americans hostage,” said Senator Tom Cotton. “I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to protect America from this very dangerous proposal and to stop a nuclear arms race in the world’s most volatile region.”
“This attempt to spin diplomatic failure as a success is just the latest example of this administration’s farcical approach to Iran. Under this President’s watch, Iran has expanded its influence in the Middle East, sowing instability throughout the region,” said Senator Marco Rubio, a potential presidential candidate and member of the Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees.
“Iran’s support for terrorism has continued unabated without a serious response from the United States,” Rubio added.
The Israeli government called the deal “a poor framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement.”
“If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it will result in a historic mistake that will make the world a far more dangerous place,” Israel announced in a statement. “This framework gives international legitimacy to Iran’s nuclear program that aims only to produce nuclear bombs.”
Israel also warned against celebrating the supposed success too early. “Those celebrating in Lausanne are disconnected from reality, one in which Iran has refused to make concessions on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said. “Since the statement is far from being a real agreement, we will continue our efforts to explain and convince the world in the hope of preventing a bad agreement, or at least make the necessary amendments and improvements.”
However, Obama remains optimistic about the agreement, encouraging Congress and Americans to give the potentially explosive deal a chance. “This framework would cut off every pathway Iran could take to obtain a nuclear weapon,” he said.