Here's What the Iran Nuke Deal Means

18 days of talks finally produce historic deal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 14, 2015 3:52 AM CDT
Updated Jul 14, 2015 6:58 AM CDT
Diplomats: We Have an Iran Nuke Deal
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, centre British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, centre and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrive for a group picture.   (Carlos Barria, Pool Photo via AP)

After 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation—not to mention 20 months of "tortuous talks," as CNN puts it—world powers and Iran have today struck a landmark deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions—an agreement designed to avert the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and another US military intervention in the Muslim world. What you need to know about the 159-page Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a deal that President Obama this morning emphasized "is not built on trust. It is built on verification":

  • Iran will get rid of 98% of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, to a level of no more than about 660 pounds, for 15 years. That'll happen by diluting its stockpile or shipping it out of Iran, per the Guardian. Obama today explained that its current stockpile could fuel 10 nuclear weapons; under the new limitation, Iran would have a fraction of what would be required for a single weapon.

  • It will "remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and store them under constant international supervision," per Obama.
  • The affect of the aforementioned stipulations, per the New York Times "the limits ... would extend, to one year, the amount of time necessary for Iran to produce enough weapons-grade material for a single bomb if it should abandon the accord."
  • The relief Iran will see once the International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed the country is beginning to take the agreed-upon steps: a lifting of international sanctions related to finance, oil, shipping, and more (one line references the importation into the US of Iranian-origin carpets, pistachios, and caviar). An arms embargo will also be lifted in future years. "All these sanctions will snap back into place" if Iran violates the deal, per Obama.
  • IAEA inspectors "will be able to access any suspicious location," per Obama. The Guardian explains that Iran can object to an IAEA request to inspect a location where undeclared nuclear activity is allegedly happening, but a multinational commission can, through a majority vote, override that.
  • Speaking of votes, Obama warned that he "will veto any legislation [from Congress] that prevents the successful implementation of this deal. ... No deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East."
(More Iran stories.)

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