"First Step" Deal Reached with Iran
Early Sunday Morning, November 24, the P5 + 1 signed an agreement with Iran that will provide some sanction relief in exchange for limitations to Iran’s nuclear program. According to the White House, Iran commits to halting uranium enrichment above 5 percent, will eliminate its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, and will end development of its enrichment capacity. Iran will also halt work at its plutonium reactor and provide access to inspections by the IAEA.
In return, the world powers agreed to provide some relief of trade sanctions and will allow Iran to access some of its frozen currency accounts overseas, concessions valued at less than $7 billion over the six-month term of the deal. The sanctions will kick in again if Iran breaks the agreement.
President Obama hailed the deal in an address from the White House.
“While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif asserted that its adherence to the agreement is dependent on no new sanctions.
“If there are new sanctions, then there is no deal. It’s very clear. End of the deal. Because of the inability of one party to maintain their side of the bargain.”
Initial response from Israel and from U.S. representatives who have supported new sanctions is mixed, but skeptical that Iran will follow through with its part. The P5+1 and Iran now have six months to negotiate the next phase and reach a longer term agreement.
What are the details of the agreement: who gets what? Will Congress consider new sanctions that will scuttle the deal? Where does Israel fit in? Might it consider taking independent military action? What are the next steps to a more permanent deal?