Before jumping into the details of what took place this week, allow me to explain in brevity some of the background in regard to the nuclear talks with Iran.
How did this start?
Negotiations with nuclear Iran began in 2002, when two hidden nuclear facilities within the country were revealed to the international community. The negotiations of late have been catalyzed by the election of Hassan Rohani, who ran on a platform of ending Iran’s international isolation, as well as lifting the harsh economic sanctions that are in place as a consequence of the nation’s nuclear activities.
What does most of the world want?
The majority of the world wants to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. They are seeking strict limits on Iran’s enrichment program and infrastructure, in an effort to lengthen their “breakout time,” the time it would take Iran to create a single nuclear weapon.
What does Iran want?
The nation’s most pressing need is relief from the severe economic sanctions that inhibit the growth of its resource-based economy. They want the sanctions removed immediately, but as of now the deal is such that they will be relieved in stages, on the basis of good faith to the agreement.
What is the deal that was signed?
This past Thursday, a framework for the deal was released. Many were surprised at the level of detail, but nothing is set in stone until the July 1st deadline. The statement released will ensure Iran reduces its enrichment centrifuges from 19,000 to 6,000, and none of their most advanced models can be used for at least a decade. These parameters, among others, are worthless if Iran is not held accountable, as such the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) will carry out a routine inspection regime to ensure their compliance.
What needs to happen by July 1st?
The plans need to be finalized and agreed upon, and the regime outlined in detail. Essentially, nothing is set in stone yet, and everything needs to be solidified by all parties who are taking part in the negotiations.
Who is not happy about this?
Israel for one, is up in arms. The Israeli prime minister has condemned the deal in the most extreme on terms, describing it as near apocalyptic. Republicans in Congress are not happy about us “negotiating with terrorists,” and there are powerful groups in Iran who would be happy if they did not have the IAEA snoopy around in their territory. Their protests are unheeded however, as objecting parties have yet to offer an alternative solution.
What does this all mean?
If everything continues along the current path, the world will sleep a little better at night knowing this will hopefully prevent a nuclear arms race, or worse, another war in the Middle East. While it remains to be seen, there is the possibility that with the sanctions removed, Iran’s economy could become reintegrated into the world, and we could see a degree of trust between nations emerge.