Iran Deal: who wins what and why it matters to whom
After almost 20 months of rigorous negotiations, an agreement between global leaders and Iran has been reached. The deal limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions that had crippled Iran's economy. Whether or not this is a good deal, and for whom, is up for debate.
Here's a list of what both sides of the deal stood to gain and loose and quoted opinions from leading experts and politicians on why it matters.
Wins for the world powers (US, UK, China, France, Germany, Russia)
Iran has agreed to dismantle most of its nuclear program. It would previously take Iran two to three months to produce and gather enough material to make one nuclear weapon. With the new agreement in effect, it will take Iran a year to produce a bomb. The agreement is valid for ten years.
Iran has agreed to decommission 13,000 installed centrifuges. It currently has 19,000. Centrifuges are essential to the process of uranium enrichment, which is needed to make nuclear weapons.
Iran will reduce its stockpile of enriched Uranium by 98%.
Iran's nuclear reactor Arak will be redesigned, preventing it from being used to produce weapons grade plutonium there. Over the next 15 years, Iran will not build any new heavy water reactors.
The Fordow nuclear facility will be transformed into a nuclear, physics, and technology center.
If Iran breaks any of these terms, sanctions against Iran will be immediately snapped back into place.
Wins for Iran
Once Iran shows that it has begun implementing the terms of the agreement, all EU and US economic sanctions against Iran will be lifted. This will release almost $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
Iran has agreed to allow inspections of nuclear facilities and military sites. But, many people believe this term to be a win for Iran, since it could take up to 24 days for UN inspectors to be granted access to these sites, which some believe is long enough for Iran to cover up foul play. A joint commission comprised of one member from each negotiating party must decide that the inspection is warranted before UN officials can proceed.
The international arms embargo placed on Iran will gradually lift. Iran will be able to buy and sell conventional arms internationally in five years. In eight years they'll be able to do the same thing with ballistic missiles.
Iran will be able to continue conducting research and development for their nuclear program, as long as it's considered to be for the purposes of peaceful activities.
Those in favor
#IranDeal shows constructive engagement works. With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) July 14, 2015
Though the majority of US media coverage focuses on US and Israeli perspectives, Iranians are debating the results of the agreement as well, obviously. Most are optimistic about the deal, often due to the fact that it symbolizes the end of threatening relations and talk of war.
National Iranian American Council President Trita Parsi said that “diplomacy has triumphed and war is off the table. The United States and Iran have turned the tide on decades of enmity and instead have secured a nuclear deal that promises a better and brighter future.” He added that “we now know that the U.S. and Iran need not remain hostile enemies, but can interact with each other to achieve shared interests.”
Hillary Clinton has hailed the agreement with Iran as an "important step in putting a lid on Iran's nuclear program." Clinton contributed to the talks with Iran. In a press conference, she said "We have to treat this as an ongoing enforcement effort, which I certainly strongly support and as President would be absolutely devoted to ensuring that the agreement is followed."
President Obama has vowed to veto any efforts made by Congress to block the agreement, saying "I am confident that this deal will meet the national security interests of the United States and our allies."
Aaron David Miller, Vice President of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former Middle East negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations, tells CNN that the deal was a win for both sides - but Iran definitely got the better side of the deal: "The United States has paid heavily not for a disarmament accord, but for an arms control agreement -- and one that won't end, but that will simply constrain Iran's reputed nuclear weapons ambitions. On this one, we played linear checkers, and the Iranians played a superior game of three-dimensional chess."
Tom Z. Collina, director of policy at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation in Washington told CNN "With a deal this good and alternatives this bad, it's hard to fathom why some in Congress want to kill it...It's time for Congress -- which now has 60 days to review the deal -- to rise above partisan politics and act in the best interests of the United States and the world. We have a historic opportunity to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb verifiably and peacefully. To get there, all we have to do is not trip over our own two feet."
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed the deal saying "the world can breathe a sigh of relief."
Some national leaders and congressmen are concerned that Iran won't hold up its end of the deal, including Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu who has called the deal a "mistake of historic proportions." Netanyahu has criticized the US for the past six years for its diplomacy towards Iran and has made hints of possible attacks on Iranian nuclear sites. Many Israelis will see the deal as a failure on Netanyahu's part, due to his inability to stop the agreement from being finalized.
Republican presidential hopefuls have unanimously expressed their disappointment in Obama's handling of the deal. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said the deal will “will be remembered as one of America’s worst diplomatic failures.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said that the deal “isn’t diplomacy—it is appeasement.” And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said it “undermines our national security.”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said on CNN's New Day "We've given them legitimacy in the international community, something that they deeply wanted here, and they've done basically nothing in exchange for that. They come out of this a much, much stronger and I believe more virulent state with very, very few responsibilities. In fact, nothing in this deal curbs their terrorism. There's nothing that says that they have to cease any type of terrorist activity."
With lifted sanctions, Iran will be able to export oil freely. This could mean a flood of new oil supply from Iran, which will mean oil prices will probably fall, and foreign investors will probably set up shop in Iran. But beyond oil markets, weapons, and sanctions, the world has a lot to gain from the agreements in piece of mind.
Which party got the better side of the bargain might never be agreed upon. But we could be optimistic about the agreement marking a new chapter in international relations. It's the first time the US and Iran have had direct and open diplomacy in more than a generation. A thirteen year stand-off has finally ended.
Cover image: Wikimedia