Friday, April 3, 2015

Brief: Iran, Powers Reach Historic Nuclear Framework

Iran Nuclear Deal
US Secretary of State John Kerry, centre watches on a tablet as the US President Barack Obama addresses the US, at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, or Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Thursday, April 2, 2015, after Iran nuclear program talks finished with extended sessions. The United States, Iran and five other world powers on Thursday announced an understanding outlining limits on Iran's nuclear program so it cannot lead to atomic weapons, directing negotiators toward achieving a comprehensive agreement within three months. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)
AP Photo
Via Council on Foreign Relations
After marathon negotiations that extended beyond a self-imposed deadline, Iran and the P5+1 powers reached (FT) a framework political agreement outlining the basic core elements of a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program that must be finalized by June 30. The parameters (Reuters) of the agreement include cutting the number of Iranian centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,000, limiting uranium enrichment, and reducing the amount of stockpiled nuclear material in Iran. A number of issues still require further negotiation (WSJ), including a timeline for lifting sanctions against Iran. Despite the major breakthrough, the United States must sell the deal (WaPo) to the U.S. Congress and its allies, while Iranian negotiators will face an uphill battle in convincing hardline domestic factions. If the deal is finalized, Iran’s nuclear program will be subject to extensive international inspection.
"A thaw between Iran and America is not guaranteed, obviously. The possibility of wholesale moderation within Iranian politics is even more remote. But neither does a nuclear deal depend on such things to be successful or to be worth having. On the contrary, success relies on the routine of inspections and the slow accumulation of confidence; and the deal will be measured chiefly on whether it puts a bomb out of reach. Everything else is a bonus," writes the Economist.
"Sunni Arab nations and Israel are deeply opposed to any deal, fearing that it would strengthen Iran’s power in the region. This agreement addresses the nuclear program, the most urgent threat, and does not begin to tackle Iran’s disruptive role in Syria and elsewhere. Iran is widely seen as a threat; whether it can get beyond that will depend on whether its leaders choose to be less hostile to its neighbors, including Israel," writes the New York Times.
"If the Iranian people see their own leaders meeting and smiling with American diplomats, even negotiating deals, trusting them enough to dismantle huge pieces of the nation’s cherished nuclear program, then the chants of “Down with America” might soon lose their potency—and the regime’s political legitimacy, the rationale for its existence, could gradually evaporate," writes Fred Kaplan for Slate

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