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The Iran Nuclear Deal is Diplomacy In Action

The Iran Nuclear Deal is Diplomacy In Action

Last week, President Barack Obama made a late night statement announcing ďan important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iranís nuclear program.Ē Hopes have been high since the election of Iran President Hassan Rouhini, believed to be more moderate than his predecessors with his hints of a more conciliatory tone from the nation. The agreement was negotiated by the European Union and talks involved the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China.

The agreement is just one of a few steps forward, and many backwards, in dealing with Iranís nuclear program.

In the 1950s,†the first nuclear reactor in Iran was funded by the United States through the Atoms for Peace program. This program was used to promote the peaceful uses for nuclear energy, while the U.S. pursued the switch from conventional weapons to nuclear ones. By the late 1960s, the world was in a full-fledged nuclear arms race, leading to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Iran ratified the treaty in 1970.

After delays caused by revolution and war, Iran restarted its research into nuclear energy, including the mining of uranium and enrichment. They pursued nuclear cooperation contracts with Russia and China, which provided equipment, personnel and training for Iranian scientists. By 2003, they had built additional nuclear facilities and admitted to ďsmall-scale enrichment experiments and plans to construct an enrichment facility, a heavy water production plant, a heavy water-moderated research reactor, and a fuel fabrication facility.”

By this time, the United States was in the midst in the so-called War on Terror, fighting fronts in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and Iran was included in President George W. Bushís Axis of Evil. Under intense international scrutiny, Iran halted its nuclear program and reportedly indicated interest in discussing a way forward with the U.S. The Bush administration declined, believing that the already imposed sanctions were working and that waiting longer would force Iran into acquiescing to a complete dismantling of their nuclear program.

Their gamble failed. Over the next seven years, Iran learned to enrich uranium far beyond the levels needed for energy uses.

The agreement reached in Geneva does not deal with the core issue of Iranís nuclear program — the possible development of a nuclear weapon. Instead, itís a tool to be used for thawing the ice with Iran and begin serious talks on the way forward. There is still a long road ahead, but to get there, the United States is willing to give a little to get a little.

In other words, President Obama is trying a little diplomacy.

The six month agreement calls for an immediate halt to Iranís program and rolling back of some key elements.† Nuclear reactors use uranium enriched (meaning it has been processed from its natural state to higher levels that make it useful for things like power) to a level of 3 to 5 percent. Iran is required to stop all enrichment above the 5 percent level, as well as dilute any uranium that has been enriched beyond that down to the 5 percent level. Furthermore, they are to dismantle systems that give them the ability to enrich beyond the agreed upon level.

The purpose of this is to halt progress towards them figuring out how to achieve weapons grade levels. Highly enriched uranium is considered weapons grade at 90 percent enrichment.

The rest of the agreement outlines other requirements, including daily inspections of their systems, facilities, equipment and overall program. They are also required to address the concerns of United Nations Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and its non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

After all this, and a few other things, then they can begin to talk.

In the meantime, the United States has agreed to provide temporary relief from some of the sanctions that have been imposed, which gives them access to roughly $7 billion dollars of the more than $100 billion dollars that is currently inaccessible to them, mostly through oil revenues. It is estimated that an additional $15 billion dollars of their oil sales will be placed into restricted accounts during the six months of the agreement, a result of previously imposed sanctions which will remain unchanged. If Iran stays in compliance with the agreement, they will be able to have access to $4.6 billion dollars of the sales.

The other relief will come in the form of providing repairs and inspections to Iranís ailing airlines, facilitation of current humanitarian efforts allowed by U.S. law (i.e. things related to food and medical needs), as well as tuition assistance for Iranians in other countries attending recognized universities.

In the meantime, the United States agrees not to impose any new sanctions.

All of this is to establish the foundation that will hopefully lead to substantive talks to Iran agreeing to end any efforts to pursue a nuclear weapon. While Israel and Saudi Arabia, among others, believe that the only solution to the Iran problem is a complete elimination of all nuclear capabilities, there is no indication at the moment as to how close we will get to that ultimate goal. Along the way, many other options may be put on the table. Plus, as history has shown us, negations with Iran have been unpredictable, at best.

The agreement gives everyone time and opportunity to show their commitment to the process. It has taken us more than 40 years to get to this point. Giving it another six months to see if diplomacy can work doesn’t seem unreasonable.

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128 comments

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7:56PM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Bill R. Your disgraced Watergate liar Nixon in June 1971 officially declares a "war on drugs," identifying drug abuse as "public enemy No. 1." July 1973: Nixon creates the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to coordinate the efforts of all other agencies. 1976: Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter campaigns for president on a platform that includes decriminalizing marijuana and ending federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 1 ounce of the drug. Right on Carter. Carter had common sense. Your horrible disgraced liar Reagan, in October 1986 signs the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which appropriates $1.7 billion to fight the drug war. The bill also creates mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses, which are increasingly criticized for promoting significant racial disparities in the prison population because of the differences in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine. Possession of crack, which is cheaper, results in a harsher sentence; the majority of crack users are lower income. Our failed war on drugs is the fault of your republican party that refused to legalize marijuana, and instituted tough mandatory minimums for crack cocaine which unfairly targeted African Americans. The myopic policies of your republican party has destroyed America.

9:14AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Brian your history is a little off target, it was the democratic congress under FDR that started all the drugs into the US. The congress contracted for thousands of Columbian acres to be planted with plants to produce Morphine for our wounded warriors of WWII. Their idea was noble but there was no follow up. The cartels picked it up and began sending the morphine into the US where they could make millions of dollars off our young people just as they do today.

9:08AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Iran has already told the world now that they have their 15 billion dollars back again that they are starting the refined enrichment program that will produce a nuclear weapon, thank you John Kerry for your stupidity, and that goes for Obama also.

Anytime we believe the terrorist it tells us just how stupid we really can be at times. The Terrorist have time and time again agreed to one thing and turned right around and committed the same terrorist activity as before.
How did we ever elect government people that can be so dumb and not learn from the past.

8:45AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

rty. Your do nothing republican congress is a disgrace to this nation, and only serves their corporate masters. Your refusal to accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing Global Warming, because you are paid to lie by the dirty fossil fuel, and factory farming industry is reprehensible. The republican support of our corrupt for profit prison industry that profits, by filling beds incarcerates 25% of the worlds inmates, even though we are 4% of the world's population, is despicable. Half of our prison inmates are there for drug charges. They should be treated instead of incarcerated. Our failed drug war, was the result of the myopic republican policies that were started by your disgraced Watergate criminal liar Nixon. Your republican party is an absolute disgrace to this nation, and only cares about the money your corporate masters pay you.

8:33AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Bill R. The highest ranking republican makes $247,000 a year. John Boehner refuses to raise the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, which forces our poor to live in poverty and on food stamps. Nobody can live on $15,000 dollars a year. The average corporate CEO makes 354 times the average worker, who lives in poverty. Corporate welfare, and tax loopholes are at an all time high thanks to your republican party that wants to destroy the ACA, minimum wage, social security, Medicare, food stamps, and all programs to help the poor, so our poor can starve, and die, while the richest 1% become richer than at any time in history. Your republican party are a bunch of Machiavellian con men, who only care about the rich, and serve only their corporate masters, the billionaire Koch brothers, and the dirty fossil fuel, and cruel factory farming industries that are polluting and destroying this earth. Republicans have destroyed America with their moron Bush's unpaid for wars based on lies, and tax breaks for the rich, resulting in our massive 17 trillion dollar debt. The myopic policies of republicans, along with their absolute allegiance to corporate America, including the horrible Citizen United decision, have destroyed America. Our criminal corporate controlled republican supreme court that passes laws favorable to corporations, and passes racist voting laws is another example of how completely evil and stupid republicans are. The billionaire Koch brothers own your nefarious venal republican pa

6:27AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

I agree with Robert H.

10:22PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

al republicans are making $200,000 a year, and have the best pension and healthcare paid for by our taxes. Republicans are all dirty liars, who work for their corporate masters the billionaire Koch brothers, and the dirty fossil fuel industry that is polluting and destroying this planet. Corporations have made record profits, and the poor have gotten worse off. Republicans could care less about the poor, and only care about rich people like themselves.

10:16PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

Bill R. First of all, most of the sanctions are still in place. Iran is only getting limited relief, and must comply with frequent inspections. Iran will not be able to buy time to build a nuclear weapon. If Iran violates the agreement, the deal is off and the full sanctions come into place. Obama can't repair the horrible damage Bush did, with his unpaid for wars based on lies, and tax breaks for the rich, if republicans block, and filibuster everything he tries to do. The Keystone pipeline is the dumbest thing we could do. It would create only temporary jobs, and then we would suffer oil spills for ever. The Canadian oil companies would make billions, we would get no oil, and our environment would be destroyed. Also the greenhouse gas emissions would be very high. The EPA regulations are needed to keep dirty coal plants from polluting our environment. The republican party that ended slavery was the democratic party. The parties switched allegiances. Your republican party has destroyed this country, when your horrible failed leader Bush led us to war based on lies, cut taxes for the rich, and left Obama with a 10.7 trillion dollar debt. Your do nothing republican congress is the worst in history, set a record for filibusters, the least amount of bills past, and is bought and paid for by your corporate masters. Republicans refuse to raise the $7.25 minimum wage, so our poor people can get off food stamps, which we pay for through our taxes, and poverty. Meanwhile all your ven

10:10PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

Bill R.... You are a nasty person and do NOT tell the truth......It is the congress under Bonehead that won't table ANYTHING for a vote.... As I said before , the WORST congress in recorded history.....Now tell me just what you are proud of in your beloved party but try and keep it since 2008.....BTW... Canadians DON'T want your pipelines because the teaparty doesn't give a damn about your environment so why should they care about ours.....all they care about is money........sounds like you want a war with Iran, Bill..... think about all your tax dollars and all those young men and women killed......just like Iraq

9:16PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

I understand there is a bill being developed in the Senate by both parties to put many of the sanctions back on Iran. At the very minimum we should have gotten the American Pastor out of Iran in return for the Iranian terrorist we let go. How intelligent was that of our administration. What are we going to monitor that we already told the Mullahs they can continue with their nuclear program just do not build anything new. :-) Are we smart or are we smart, Oh yes mullahs if you are running short of money here is 17 billion dollars to continue your hate toward Israel and Saudi Arabia. All this garbage of blaming Bush for the ails of the US is not too sensible as Obama has already had 5 years to do something. As to bills to put Americans to work the Republicans have presented tens of dozen in the senate and good old idiotic Reid will not let them go to the floor for a vote. The Key Stone Pipe line is taking Obama longer to approve than the time it took to win WWII. Of course that only would created about 20,000 jobs and that is not enough for the great job maker called Obama. His EPA is putting forth 350 new regulations before January 1, talk about job killers.

I think most of you forget it was the Republicans that freed the African American from slavery. I only mention that because some on here seem to hate the Republican party when it is the party of bringing equality to all people in America.

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