Iran and the United States Reach a Nuclear Deal


Allyson Werner
National Beat Reporter

The United States and six other world powers signed a deal on the morning of Nov. 24 that would temporarily postpone further developments to Iran’s nuclear program and will potentially lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.

This is the first time in 10 years that Iran and the United States have not concluded negotiations with extreme animosity. The United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany also participated in the negotiations.

The deal is scheduled to last six months, and Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama are certain that the temporary deal will give international negotiators enough time to reach a more comprehensive and long-term agreement that would significantly cut back the program and ensure that Iran’s nuclear power be used solely for peaceful purposes.

The deal requires Iran to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent, a level that is sufficient for energy production but not sufficient for weaponry. The deal also requires Iran to dilute or convert its large stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent. This uranium is nearly sufficient for weapon-grade fuel, and could potentially present a threat to Iran’s enemies.

Iran also agreed not to install any new centrifuges, build new enrichment facilities, or expand current enrichment facilities.

In return for the initial agreement, the United States agreed to provide between $6 billion and $7 billion in sanctions relief. Approval for this sanctions relief only requires executive order, meaning that the Obama Administration does not need approval from Congress, which does not support the relaxed nature of the temporary deal.

“My administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government,” said Obama on Saturday night. “These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian president earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged.”

John Kerry said that the temporary deal will “require Iran to prove the peaceful nature of its nuclear program”; however, many officials remain skeptical.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu, out of concern for the safety of his country, has condemned the United States for not being firmer with Iran. He has demanded a more serious deal that will end Iran’s enrichment program entirely; however, Iran made it clear that continuing enrichment was a prerequisite for any agreement.

Debate over the deal is largely centered on whether this initial deal will allow for comprehensive and long-term solution for the nuclear, as the Obama administration has insisted.

Furthermore, those skeptical of Iran’s intentions condemn Iran for not agreeing to all of the inspections that the International Atomic Energy Agency has said are necessary to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful.

Obama remains optimistic.

“Today, the United States—together with our close allies and partners—took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program,” Obama said. “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.”