Five takeaways from the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program

The framework agreement cuts off all potential paths to an Iranian nuclear weapon.  A nuclear deal based on the provisions agreed to under last week’s framework would block every path Iran has to obtaining a nuclear weapon through an exceptionally intrusive regime of restrictions and monitoring. Weapons grade plutonium or uranium are necessary to make a nuclear bomb. Iran will only be allowed to enrich uranium up to 3.67% for at least 15 years, and will not produce any weapons grade plutonium. In addition, Iran has agreed to dismantle roughly two-thirds of its current centrifuges, and will only operate its oldest variant. Read Greg Terryn’s post on our blog, Nukes of Hazard: http://nukesofhazardblog.com/story/2015/4/3/113640/4836 An agreement based on this framework is good for the United States and its allies.  This deal means no bomb, and no war. Critics and proponents of a deal agree that a nuclear weapons free Iran is integral to the safety and security of the United States and its allies. This framework is the best chance to achieve just that. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and critics in Congress argue that any deal is a bad deal because Iran would still be left with a portion of its nuclear infrastructure.  But the option for zero enrichment was not on the table, even at the outset of these current negotiations. “Rather, the objective has always been to structure an agreement or series of agreements so that Iran could not covertly develop a nuclear arsenal before the United States and its allies could respond,” writes Colonel Dick Klass for CNN. The agreement negotiated by the P5+1 and Iran would fulfill that primary objective. Read Col. Klass’s piece here: http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/02/opinions/klass-iran-framework/ Sanctions on Iran will be lifted when, and only if, Iran adheres to its nuclear-related commitments. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have access to Iran’s centrifuges for 20 years and Iran’s uranium supply chain for 25 years. Importantly, as Secretary Kerry emphasized during his April 2nd press conference, there is “no sunset clause” on the agreement. “This deal will place tough, verifiable constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and ensure it does not have the opportunity to build a nuclear weapon,” said Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Policy Director Laicie Heeley. International nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended if and only if the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies that Iran has fully complied with its nuclear-related commitments. If not, the sanctions will be reinstated. All human rights, terrorism, and ballistic missile related sanctions would remain in place under a deal based on this framework. Read our full press release here: http://armscontrolcenter.org/press/pr/framework_agreement_press_release_040215/ Experts across the political spectrum agree: this is a framework for a good deal. The general consensus among experts and analysts from both sides of the aisle is that this is the framework for a good deal. Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations and a self-proclaimed skeptic of the negotiations, said he was “pleasantly surprised.”  Kori Schake, Fellow at the Hoover Institution proclaimed, “I’m a republican and I support the Iran nuclear deal.” Even political pundits as far right as Bill O’Reilly suggested to “take a deep breath, step back, and say, ‘Okay, let’s hope it’s a decent thing.’” Clearly, this critical step towards an agreement is a giant leap away from a possible war with Iran and a win for diplomacy. Read Sarah Tully’s piece on our blog, Nukes of Hazard: http://nukesofhazardblog.com/story/2015/4/3/11720/08353 And John Isaacs on our blog, The Chain Reaction: http://blog.livableworld.org/story/2015/4/6/154248/2792 Congress should support the agreement and not undermine diplomacy. Last week was an important week for diplomacy and for the future of, as President Obama put it in his Rose Garden statement, a “final, comprehensive deal, [that] will make our country, our allies, and our world safer.” A bill penned by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R- Tenn.), that would give Congress a chance to vote on up or down approval of a final deal, is set for mark-up on April 14th, and threatens to nullify the framework agreement and undercut diplomacy. Senator Corker’s bill would put in place additional restrictions that would move the goal posts beyond the scope of current negotiations, delay the implementation of a final deal and encourage a rushed, impractical timeline for congressional review. Read Laicie Heeley’s LTE here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/sen-corkers-iran-bill-is-misguided-letters-to-the-editor-1427217864