Barack Obama is in the process of finally earning the Nobel Peace Prize that he won in 2009 for just getting elected. The deal with Iran that was completed yesterday, with a great assist from former Presidential Candidate and current Secretary of State is historic.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action runs to 109 pages, including five annexes. Major provisions of the final accord include:
- Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98%, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg.
- Iran will reduce by at least two-thirds the number of its centrifuges from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges to no more than 6,104.
- Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium for at least fifteen years, and Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67% for fifteen years, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power.
- Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.
- Iran must make changes to several facilities, including reducing centrifuges at the Arak complex.
- Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but only at the Natanz facility.
- A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented under which Iran will be required to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to all of Iran’s declared facilities.
- The United States and the European Union would lift their nuclear-related sanctions against Iran after the UN verifies that several key steps have been taken.
- If Iran violates the agreement, an automatic “snap back” provision takes affect, under which sanctions “snap back” into place. (Sanctions against Iran related to human rights abuses and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.)
People in Iran were rejoicing that the sanctions will soon be lifted. So were oil company executives, as Iran’s vast petroleum reserves, which they will now be able to purchase again, will help keep oil prices low. People in Russia, China, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, and even in places like Syria saw this as good news.
I’m not quite sure what Netanyahu wants in Israel. I mean, I guess he wants the complete dismantlement of all of Iran’s nuclear facilities. But that’s not going to happen.
He also wants Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
I want that too.
I don’t really understand why countries like Iran and organizations like Hezbollah continue to refuse to recognize the existence of Israel, although there are certainly legitimate arguments to be made about whether Israel was properly created under international law. Some international lawyers, who know a lot more about this than I do, have argued that it was not.
To me, that’s now besides the point, because Israel exists, has existed since 1948, has its own nuclear arsenal, and isn’t going anywhere. More importantly, I believe there is a moral imperative for Israel to exist.
But the internal politics of Iran — of which I understand really nothing — don’t allow for that recognition at this time. And that is not a reason, from my perspective, not to negotiate with Iran. Especially when the results are as tangible as they were here.
So I’m sorry Israel, I can’t share your point of view. I can’t agree with Netanyahu’s assessment that it was a “stunning historic mistake.” It was historic, but not a stunning mistake.
And Obama can finally look upon his peace prize medal with some sense of accomplishment.
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