The American Interest

The Iran Deal in Context

On July 14, in Vienna, the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, and the European Union signed a 109-page Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.  The Islamic republic has accepted a comprehensive set of international, legally mandated, and (by implication) militarily enforceable safeguards that “will ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful.”  Until 2030 Iran will be allowed to enrich uranium only to 3.67 percent, which is enough for use in a nuclear power plant but nowhere near the 90 percent needed for a bomb.  Iran has agreed to reduce her stockpile of enriched uranium to below 300 kilograms, less than what is needed for a single weapon and a mere fraction of her current hoard of 10,000 kilograms.  She will reduce the number of her 20,000 centrifuges by over 70 percent.

The agreement puts invasive monitoring and verification measures in place that will make it extremely hard to cheat.  “There’s a verifiable gap between their bomb option and an actual bomb,” said Jeffrey Lewis, nuclear-affairs expert at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

The Administration has maxed out what they could have reasonably hoped to achieve.  You can’t know that Khamenei will be deterred, but I don’t know that there’s any way to make him more deterred than this.

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