What’s Going to Happen to the Iran Deal?
Has President Donald Trump made a decision about the Iran Nuclear Deal? On October 5, just days before his expected official statement on whether Tehran has complied with the terms of the Iran Nuclear Deal, Trump hinted he wanted to repeal it. He said that Iran has not respected the “spirit of this agreement.” (Source: “Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest,” The Washington Post, October 5, 2017.)
Thus, many believe Trump will advise Congress that Iran is not complying with the agreement. Trump has also been targeting the achievements of his predecessor Barack Obama. Indeed, the Iran Nuclear Deal is synonymous with the previous president’s second term. It may even have been his biggest foreign policy achievement.
But Trump is also a savvy negotiator; he knows that many experienced diplomats, including his own Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis—aka “Mad Dog” Mattis—believe the agreement has worked. Trump will do what Pontius Pilate did. He will distance himself from Obama’s Iran Deal and allow Congress to vote on it. That way, he might find a compromise between his hardline supporters and some of the wise people in Washington.
What is the nuclear deal anyway? Many people don’t know. They either assume Iran already has nuclear weapons or they have no clue. An Iran Nuclear Deal wiki, a brief summary if you will, is useful.
Iran Deal Wiki
On April 2, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, representatives from the Islamic Republic of Iran and those of the so-called “P5 + 1” countries met to negotiate a framework deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The P5 +1 countries are the five countries, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China—plus Germany. The agreement received praise from many analysts and leaders. It was finalized on June 30, 2015.
The main purpose of the Iran Nuclear Deal is to reduce Iran’s ability to enrich uranium. In return, the P5+1 powers have lifted many international sanctions, especially those affecting trade. For instance, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) has reached sales agreements worth billions with IranAir thanks to the deal. Before the deal, Iran was banned from buying American airplanes. Because so many Airbus SE (EPA:AIR) components are made in the U.S., Airbus could not sell Iran equipment as well.
Iran Nuclear Deal Summary
What does the Iran Deal entail? The deal is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Nuclear Program of the Islamic Republic of Iran. An Iran Nuclear Deal summary must include the following points. Briefly, it establishes that Iran will:
- Reduce the number of its centrifuges by about two-thirds from 19,000 to 6104, of which only 5,060 will be enriched with uranium for the next 10 years. As a reminder from “Nuclear Bomb Making 101,” uranium enrichment is a necessary step to build an atomic bomb.
- Iran would also refrain from enriching uranium beyond the threshold of 3.67% for at least 15 years. In other words, Iran will be limited to civilian-use enrichment. Indeed, the threshold that separates civilian from military uranium enrichment use is 5 percent.
- Iran has agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect all its nuclear power plants, uranium mines and “yellowcake” (concentrated uranium) stocks. Yellowcake is a material used in the preparation of fuels for nuclear reactors.
What Iran Has Gotten in Return
The United States and the European Union lifted sanctions against Iran after the IAEA verified that the Iranian government had taken all necessary steps to comply with the points set out in Lausanne. Should Iran violate any or all of the points in the agreement, it would endure sanctions again.