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Deal reached on Iranian nuclear program - Lauder: Key question is: Can we trust Iran?
Thu, 02 Apr 2015
Six world powers led by the United States announced on Thursday a framework deal with Iran limiting its nuclear program. The agreement (for the full text, click here) outlines major points to be flesh out in a final deal, the details of which have to be worked out by the end of June.
Negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland, twice extended the talks past Tuesday's deadline for a framework because of deep differences between the parties. Following are the main points of the agreement:
Iran would have to reduce its total of about 19,000 centrifuges -- 10,000 of which are still spinning today -- down to 6,104 under the deal, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium over the next 10 years. Centrifuges are tube-shaped machines used to enrich uranium, the material necessary for nuclear power -- and nuclear bombs.
2. Uranium enrichment
Iran's centrifuges will only enrich uranium to 3.67% -- enough for civil use to power parts of the country, but not enough to build a nuclear bomb. That agreement lasts 15 years. And Tehran has agreed not to build any new uranium enrichment facilities over that period as well. The 3.67% is a major decline, and it follows Iran's move to water down its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium last year.
3. Breakout time
The period of time that it would take for Iran to acquire the material it needs to make one nuclear weapon, currently assessed at two to three months, would be extended to about one year under the deal. That year-long breakout period would be in place for at least 10 years.
4. Fordo facility
Iran's Fordo nuclear reactor would stop enriching uranium for at least 15 years. It will not have fissile material at the facility, but it will be able to keep 1,000 centrifuges there. Fordo, one of the country's biggest reactors, is buried more than 200 feet under the side of a mountain and was hidden from the international community until the U.S. revealed it in 2009.
5. Research and development
Iran can continue its research and development on enrichment, but that work will be limited to keep the country to its breakout time frame of one year.
6. Sanctions lifted
The United States and the European Union would lift their nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian economy -- a priority for Iran -- after a UN watchdog verifies it has taken key steps. If there are violations, the sanctions will snap back into place. UN sanctions will also be lifted when Iran completes its nuclear-related steps, though some peripheral restrictions will be contained in a new Security Council resolution. International reductions in purchases of Iranian oil and increased isolation of the Middle Eastern country had squeezed its economy in recent years, and the lifting of those sanctions could bring the country major financial rewards.
Ronald Lauder: Key question is: Can we trust Iran?
World Jewish Congress (WJC) President Ronald S. Lauder said the key question was if Iran could be trusted to implement the deal. Lauder said that while he appreciated the sustained efforts of the negotiating parties to achieve a deal that would curb Iranian nuclear ambitions, doubts remained that Iran would act in good faith. “I fear a scenario in which, in 10 years, we will have resuscitated the Iranian economy without curbing Iran’s nuclear arms development,” he said.
Lauder also questioned whether Iran can truly be stopped from pursuing a covert nuclear weapons program. While he acknowledged that the P5+1 group, which includes Britain, China, Germany, France, Russia and the United States, had endeavored to reach a diplomatic outcome, “this agreement must also achieve a practical result: It has to ensure that all necessary safeguards are maintained against any deviations by the Islamic Republic.
“Iran must prove beyond doubt that it is willing to implement all aspects of any agreement prior to the lifting of sanctions; failure by Tehran to honor the details of an agreement in full, or any renewed attempts to pursue a covert nuclear weapons program, must immediately trigger new, stronger sanctions and render this agreement null and void.
“A nuclear-armed Iran would pose a grave threat to the wider world and trigger a dangerous arms race in the Middle East. We must not let that happen by putting too much faith in this regime,” Lauder added.