By Noah Nellis
President Obama has crossed another promise off his list. The United States, along with the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany, the European Union, and Iran have signed an agreement to end Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. This process has taken nearly two years to come to fruition. This agreement was signed on July 14, 2015.
This plan is called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA. There are over 159 pages in this agreement and it can be found in full on the internet at the following website https://medium.com/the-iran-deal. It is a long and detailed report. In brief, this deal prevents Iran from being able to develop nuclear weapons and puts into place safeguards to insure that Iran follows the plan. In return for Iran stopping and disabling its current nuclear capabilities and making it a strictly peaceful nuclear program, the United States and the other major world powers along with the United Nations Security Council will lift sanctions long held against Iran.
Not only does Iran agree to stop development of nuclear weapons, they agree to never develop or acquire any nuclear weapons in the future. Iran may develop nuclear energy for peaceful use only. They will need to phase out the manufacturing and assembly of centrifuges used to enable nuclear weapons and manufacture only those allowed by the JCPOA. Iran must also restructure nuclear facilities, specifically the Fordow facility, into a nuclear, physics, and technology center. International collaboration will be established for scientific research in specific areas in this facility. Iran will only be able to store a specific amount of uranium; any excess will need to be sold at international prices to an international buyer. Iran will also need to redesign the nuclear reactor in Arak. This reactor is capable of making enough plutonium to make one nuclear weapon a year. It will be redesigned so that it can no longer produce weapons grade plutonium; instead it will be used for peaceful medical and industrial purposes. Iran also agrees not to engage in any R & D activities related to nuclear weapons or devices.
Iran will also have to open up its doors to inspectors and be transparent. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an agency of the U.N., but separate. It was established in 1957, and its purpose is to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to stop its use for weapons. This organization will conduct inspections of Iran’s facilities. Iran will need to let IAEA monitor and verify the facilities and changes being made and that all the protocols are being followed. The IAEA will be present in Iran for a long time to insure compliance with all the terms of the agreement.
As agreed upon by all parties, all U.N. sanctions will be lifted. Many of the sanctions are financial in nature. Financial institutions will resume activities like opening branches or subsidiaries of Iranian banks in the EU. Financial support, like insurance or export credit, will be available for trade with Iran. Grants, loans, and financial assistance will be available to the Iranian government. The sanction of the import and transport of Iranian oil and petroleum products will be lifted. These are only a few of the sanctions. Iran will need to keep up their side of the agreement, verified by IAEA, for the sanctions to remain lifted. One member of the Security Council cannot decide to initiate sanctions again. A committee must recommend the sanctions be reinstated if a violation occurs.
After many years of worry over Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the United States along with China, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the EU came to an agreement with Iran. Iran has agreed to disable, dismantle, and discontinue all activities related to the making of nuclear weapons. They have agreed to convert all current facilities and technologies into places where nuclear energy is made for peaceful use. The JCPOA is an international step towards peace and security.