Iran nuclear framework finally agreed upon

In the second day past the original March 31 deadline, Iran and the 5+1 Powers have agreed to a framework that will allow for a settlement to the talks to ease and eventually remove sanctions while allowing Iran to continue to operate a nuclear program.

Skeptics are numerous and few are likely to be satisfied by the framework or the final agreement, due by June 30. In what were already contentious and awkward negotiations, US Congressional lawmakers and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have thrust themselves into the process. The downside to this effort,  which has not been covered by other news organizations, is that the meddling could have provided the Iranians an excuse to leave the negotiations and political cover for the Obama Administration if it’s efforts ultimately failed.

Today’s announcement of a “framework” came just as the specter of the talks failing was becoming more and more expected.

Said President Obama in the Rose Garden, “It is a good deal, a deal that has met our core objectives. This will cut off every path for Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon.    This deal is not based on trust, it is based on unprecedented verification.”

The main points of the Framework as announced today:

  1. Iran will not have access to plutonium. No further heavy water reactors to be built and the Arak reactor to be redesigned to only serve civilian roles.
  2. Iran will reduce its uranium enrichment capabilities by a third. Iran will not stockpile materials necessary for building a nuclear bomb.
  3. Inspectors will have access to the entire supply chain of Iran’s nuclear program. From the uranium mines to the very underground facilities where the centrifuges are located.

President Obama, in further comments: “If Iran Cheats, the World will know it…If we can get this done, and Iran follows through on the framework, then we have resolved one of the biggest threats to our security. I encourage a robust debate in the coming months.”

In his Rose Garden announcement President Obama promised to consult with Congress as well as repair the strained relationships with Israel and The Gulf Arab states.

 

[AP][Politico][Photo: REUTERS/Mike Theiler]