United States And Other World Powers Reach Historic Understanding With Iran
After extending the self-imposed deadline by two days, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday announced that the United States and five other allies and partners has reached an agreement with Iran on the framework for a deal over its nuclear program. The issue has been at the center of several recent controversies, including Speaker Boehner’s decision to break longstanding protocol by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress weeks before Israel’s elections, and the the choice by 47 GOP Senators to put partisanship over patriotism by writing a letter to Iran undermining the sensitive negotiations. Despite these actions, the decision reached yesterday represents an historic achievement for American diplomacy that makes the world safer by cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.
Key details are set to be finalized over the coming months, but the outline of the agreement includes the following points:
- The deal includes the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program.
- This will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb. There are strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program for a decade, and additional restrictions on building new facilities or stockpiling materials will last for 15 years. And as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.
- In return for Iran’s actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions. But this relief will be phased in only as Iran takes meaningful states to adhere to the deal. Any violations mean sanctions will return as they were before.
This agreement has received wide praise, including from some unlikely sources. After hearing about the tentative deal, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly offered his opinion that “you give it a shot” because “you don’t want a war with Iran.”
Meanwhile, rather than trying to undercut any negotiations, Republicans in Congress should recognize that the legislative branch has an important role to play as the enforcer of the agreement. Congress should establish a mechanism to ensure that Iranian backsliding on a deal would snap sanctions back in place, as legislation from Senators Barbary Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would do. What Congress should not do is act as a cynical spoiler, impeding any chance for a meaningful deal to score political points.
BOTTOM LINE: This historic agreement of a framework over Iran’s nuclear program, agreed to not just by the United States but also other major world powers like Russia and China, deserves a chance. Any attempt to derail it is is not just a political attack: it is an intentional attempt to disrupt international diplomacy, exacerbate conflict with Iran, and weaken America’s standing in the international community.
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