Done Deal: Iran to Suspend Nuclear Program, Roll Back Weaponization

Kevin Baron, Defense One
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Kevin Baron, Defense One
Nov. 25, 2013, 4:02 a.m.

HAL­I­FAX, Nova Sco­tia — Ir­an has bowed to in­ter­na­tion­al de­mands and agreed to halt its nuc­le­ar pro­gram in a sweep­ing six-month deal with West­ern powers that ob­serv­ers are call­ing a ma­jor dip­lo­mat­ic vic­tory for the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Pres­id­ent Barack Obama, in a tele­vised state­ment from the White House late Sat­urday night, called the deal out of Geneva an “im­port­ant first step to­ward a com­pre­hens­ive solu­tion.”

“These are sub­stan­tial lim­it­a­tions which will help pre­vent Ir­an from build­ing a nuc­le­ar weapon,” said the pres­id­ent.

Ac­cord­ing to the White House, Ir­an has agreed to halt any en­rich­ment of its urani­um stock­piles above 5 per­cent and to “neut­ral­ize” its cur­rent stock­piles of urani­um already near 20 per­cent en­rich­ment to back be­low 5 per­cent. Ir­an also will dis­mantle its abil­ity to en­rich above that level.

The agree­ment re­quires daily ac­cess by United Na­tions in­spect­ors at Ir­an’s Natanz and For­dow en­rich­ment sites, while sig­ni­fic­antly rolling back Ir­an’s cur­rent en­rich­ment cap­ab­il­it­ies. Ir­an also agreed not to start new cent­ri­fuges and not to pro­ceed with fur­ther activ­ity at its Arak plutoni­um en­rich­ment site.

“In re­turn for these steps, the P-5+1 is to provide lim­ited, tem­por­ary, tar­geted, and re­vers­ible re­lief while main­tain­ing the vast bulk of our sanc­tions, in­clud­ing the oil, fin­ance, and bank­ing sanc­tions ar­chi­tec­ture.  If Ir­an fails to meet its com­mit­ments, we will re­voke the re­lief,” a White House state­ment said.

De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel was in­formed of the nuc­le­ar deal earli­er in the even­ing, De­fense One learned.

“This is an ex­tremely im­port­ant first step that sets the con­di­tions for a res­ol­u­tion that will be in both our in­terests,” said a U.S. of­fi­cial, who spoke to De­fense One on con­di­tion of an­onym­ity mo­ments after the pres­id­ent’s speech.  “We’re very clear-eyed in ap­proach­ing it.”

“The six months will al­low us time to make sure Ir­an doesn’t ad­vance its nuc­le­ar cap­ab­il­ity. It also gives us the time and space to work something that is more per­man­ent,” said the of­fi­cial.“We are in a bet­ter place now than we were without a deal. Ir­an has agreed not to ad­vance fur­ther in its pro­gram, and this is a first step to take us to something more last­ing. It’s just a first step.”

The news brought the Sat­urday night re­cep­tion of the high-level Hal­i­fax In­ter­na­tion­al Se­cur­ity For­um to a halt. The con­fer­ence hotel filled with Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, mem­bers of Con­gress and for­eign mil­it­ary dig­nit­ar­ies froze to watch Obama’s White House state­ment on live tele­vi­sion. Some del­eg­ates as­so­ci­ated with the ad­min­is­tra­tion already had popped cham­pagne and ap­plauded Obama’s speech, while oth­ers said the tem­por­ary deal did noth­ing to stop Ir­an’s nuc­le­ar weapons goals.

“Des­pite what con­ser­vat­ives say, this deal is un­ques­tion­ably bet­ter than no deal,” said Mieke Eoy­ang, dir­ect­or of na­tion­al se­cur­ity at the Third Way and a former House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee staffer.

“This is a vin­dic­a­tion of both a cam­paign prom­ise and people ar­guing with­in the ad­min­is­tra­tion that a deal was pos­sible,” said Heath­er Hurl­burt, seni­or ad­visor at the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Net­work and a former speech­writer for Pres­id­ent Clin­ton and former Sec­ret­ary of State Madeleine Al­bright.

Randy Sch­eun­e­mann, pres­id­ent of Or­i­on Strategies and former for­eign policy ad­viser to Sen­at­or John Mc­Cain (R-Ar­iz.), who at­ten­ded the Hal­i­fax con­fer­ence, harshly cri­ti­cized the deal. “The point is to end the fuel cycle. The point is to end the nuc­le­ar pro­gram. The point is just when sanc­tions are start­ing to be­gin you don’t give them re­lief when they have a his­tory of us­ing ne­go­ti­ations to buy time.”

Ir­a­ni­an Pres­id­ent Has­san Rouh­ani “has said if they can reach three and a half per­cent [en­rich­ment] they can get nuc­le­ar weapons,” Sch­eun­e­mann said. “This lets them get to three and a half per­cent. At the end of six months, if they want to walk they give up noth­ing but six months and gain $6-7 bil­lion.”

“They can’t take yes for an an­swer,” Eoy­ang re­tor­ted.

Obama, in his state­ment, said the deal places the onus on Ir­an to live up to its end of the bar­gain. “The bur­den is on Ir­an to prove to the world its nuc­le­ar pro­gram will be ex­clus­ively for peace­ful pur­poses,” he said.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from De­fense One. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

This art­icle was pub­lished in Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire, which is pro­duced in­de­pend­ently by Na­tion­al Journ­al Group un­der con­tract with the Nuc­le­ar Threat Ini­ti­at­ive. NTI is a non­profit, non­par­tis­an group work­ing to re­duce glob­al threats from nuc­le­ar, bio­lo­gic­al, and chem­ic­al weapons.

What We're Following See More »
Congress Heads Back to Work to End Shutdown
23 hours ago

"The Senate was expected to be back in session at noon, while House lawmakers were told to return to work for a 9 a.m. session. Mr. Trump on Friday had canceled plans to travel to his private resort on Palm Beach, Fla., where a celebration had been planned for Saturday to celebrate the anniversary of his first year in office."

Government Shutdown Begins, as Senate Balks at Stopgap
1 days ago

"A stopgap spending bill stalled in the Senate Friday night, leading to a government shutdown for the first time since 2013. The continuing resolution funding agencies expired at midnight, and lawmakers were unable to spell out any path forward to keep government open. The Senate on Friday night failed to reach cloture on a four-week spending bill the House had already approved."

Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
2 days ago
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
2 days ago

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
2 days ago

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.