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Iran Nuclear Interim Deal is in Effect – Now What?

Iran Nuclear Interim Deal is in Effect – Now What?

In November, it was announced that the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China (collectively referred to as the P5+1) had reached an interim agreement with Iran regarding their nuclear program. The agreement is meant to be a first step to a more permanent one and a way for the nations to gain the necessary trust in a process that historically has not led to satisfactory results. Prior to the actual agreement going into effect, certain benchmarks had to be met by Iran, including a stop to its nuclear enrichment program and the reduction of uranium that had already exceeded certain enrichment levels. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Iran had met the initial requirements for the agreement.

On Monday, January 20, the six month agreement officially went into effect.

As of that date, the nations involved in the negotiations, along with the EU, will partially lift some agreed upon sanctions. The relief is a mixture of humanitarian and financial relief. The most significant is giving Iran access to nearly $7 billion dollars of oil revenue previously inaccessible to them. The amount is small in comparison to the more than $100 billion dollars of revenue currently tied up in sanctions.

During all of this, talks will continue.

The nations will now get to the core issue – the entire nuclear program. The goal is to prevent Iran from developing the capability of weapons-grade uranium. How – or if – this will happen is currently unknown. For now, Iran’s current president Hassan Rouhani has expressed his desire for thawed relations with the west. His focus is Iran’s economy, which has felt the effects of isolation and years of sanctions.

As always, there are detractors within Iran and in the west. Hardliners within the country have a sole goal of complete relief of sanctions, a point the United States would not agree to during negotiations. In the United States, President Obama’s desire for a measured approach has been met with resistance in Congress by those that want nothing less but a hard line taken with the nation.

New Jersey Democratic Senator and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menedez and Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2013 in December. The bill expands current sanctions and imposes new ones on Iran. The bill has received bipartisan support from 59 senators, a veto-proof majority.  The bill’s supporters say only the threat of more sanctions will force Iran to stay at the negotiation table. It is for this reason the bill specifies that the sanctions proposed only go into effect if Iran doesn’t adhere to all parts of current and future agreements.

The push for the harder line can be linked to efforts by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The normally non-partisan lobbying outfit is clear in its belief that sanctions – the more the better – are the only solution to dealing with Iran. Their efforts have complicated the issue even within the Democratic ranks, targeting staunch Obama supporters, many of whom have signed on to the Senate bill. AIPAC’s efforts are further ignited by those within Congress who feel that nothing short of war will solve the issues with Iran.

The White House has promised to veto the bill and, thus far, Senate Majority Leader Harry Read (D-NV) has prevented the bill from coming to a vote.

While Israel and other Gulf nations decry the current process, the P5+1 are proceeding cautiously. The State Department is continuing negotiations that include the dismantling of Iran’s reactors, as well as the possibility of lifting some trade sanctions. The White House says that the road to a long-term, comprehensive solution will address the concerns of the international community, while at the same time demanding concrete actions on the part of Iran.

The White House statement concludes, “The United States remains committed to using strong and disciplined diplomacy to reach a peaceful resolution that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

In the meantime, we wait.

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Above photo: ARAK, IRAN -Iran's controversial heavy water production facility. (Photo by Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)

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60 comments

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8:14AM PST on Jan 31, 2014

Paul B We don't need a lecture from a trigger happy republican such as yourself. Your GOP lost all credibility when your imbecile Bush destroyed the country, and forced us into two wars that were based on lies. Our 17 trillion dollar debt is the result of your failed myopic republican policies, that only favor corporate special interest. Peace is the only option. War is not possible, as we have a massive 17 trillion dollar debt thanks to your criminal republican party, that only serves the rich. Give the peace plan a chance. Iran must comply with strict rules, or it will face more crippling sanctions. Stop listening to AIPAC, and their lies.

12:06PM PST on Jan 30, 2014

Paul, we have to try Diplomacy. We cant afford a war with Iran. We cant win a war with Iran for that reason. WE are nowhere near done payinf rot he LAST decade of war. Iran isnt afraid of us. DEALL WITH ITT!!! Having people afraid of you is a temporary fix for problems. Eventually you have to reason with them. WE cant afford NOT to come up with a diplomatic solution.

If we dont have enough money to feed our own people or keep them menaingfully employed then we dont have the money to start another war!!!!

1:58PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Oops... typo, that should be yuan, not juan.

1:55PM PST on Jan 27, 2014

We wait while they rebuild their economy, and buy time to complete their task at hand... building a nuclear weapon and the destruction of Israel. All the while this administration placates the Iranians with special consideration.

Iran heralds this deal as wonderful... those that realize what is going on just shake our heads in disappointment and disgust at the continued failures of this administration to do anything internationally that actually benefits us or our allies. And Putin continues to laugh at us as he continues to get whatever HE wants... and China is building the Juan currency unit that will eventually replace the dollar as international currency, once our dollar crashes under the weight of inflationary pressures form all the Federal reserve activity, Quantitative Easing and printing money.

Its really just a matter of time before the damage is too great to reverse and avoid the collapse. We must act NOW to start the correction process. The NEW Fed chairwoman is as bad or worse than Bernanke at this type of destructive policy.

8:07AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

We must keep both eyes on Iran and confirm and verify. Don't trust them

8:03AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Thank you

5:02AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

just a start

3:22AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Noted.

1:11AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Thank you for the article.

9:06AM PST on Jan 26, 2014

I wish Iran would end it's desire for dangerous nuclear power, with it's deadly radioactive waste, which must be stored for 250,000 years. Iran could power it's entire nation with clean renewables like solar, wind, and geothermal power. I find it hypocritical that Israel arrogantly admonishes Iran to end it's nuclear program, when Israel lied to inspectors, and with France's and England's help, produced it's own nuclear weapons program. Current estimates of Israel's arsenal range from 75 to 400 nuclear warheads.

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