An new era begins in the Middle East. Iran and six international powers succeeded Tuesday in achieving an agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of all sanctions.
In addition to ending 35 years of confrontation between Washington and Tehran, the agreement may reconfigure the geopolitical balance in a region shaken by violent extremism.
The regime of the ayatollahs preserves the ability to produce nuclear energy that is legitimized in the concert of nations.
Here are the main points agreed upon by the negotiators from all 6 nations as it reads on the final draft of the agreement:
For 15 years Iran will carry out enrichment only at the Natanz facility and will only enrich uranium up to 3.67 percent. The stockpile would not exceed 300kg of uranium hexafluoride or equivalent chemical forms.
Iran will modify the Arak nuclear reactor with the help of the international community. It will be used for peaceful research and isotope production. It will not produce plutonium.
Iran will adopt several additional safeguards and allow the IAEA to verify those voluntary measures. The nuclear watchdog is to monitor uranium stockpiles and centrifuges in Iran, including with modern surveillance measures like online enrichment measurement and electronic seals.
- Lifting of sanctions
The UN Security Council will lift its nuclear-related sanctions from Iran simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation of certain measure by Iran. The EU and the US will lift their sanctions, including on banking services, insurance, sale of aircraft parts, access to airports and a multitude of others, at the same moment.
The full text can be read below:[document file=”https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/2165388/iran-deal-text.pdf” width=”700″ height=”500″]
In principle, Iran will have slower access to the type of energy required for an atomic bomb and wins his riskiest international commitment since 2009. The first result can be greater cooperation against the Islamic jihadists State.
The US president, Barack Obama, has welcomed the agreement: “We have slowed the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East”, he said from Washington.
“With this agreement, Iran will modify the reactors to be unable to produce enriched uranium over the next 15 years. For the first time we check each of these commitments. It is an agreement that is not based on trust but on verification” he added.
“It’s a historic moment,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in the plenary session where negotiators approved the deal. The final document, he said, “not perfect” but everyone involved wins; there are no losers.
“The decision is going to take much more than a nuclear agreement,” said the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini. “You can open a new chapter”.
The agreement, by its regional reach, is comparable to Camp David in 1978, which sealed the peace between Egypt and Israel.
It can also be compared to reconciliation between the United States and other historic enemy, China, in 1972. As it has done with Cuba, the US has, in theory, sought diplomacy and multilateralism, two key tools that it had refused to use for decades to solve international conflict.[pullquote align=”left”]UN Security Council resolution will endorse Iran nuclear deal in days.[/pullquote]Washington, which protected the Shah of Persia until the revolution of 1979 broke diplomatic relations with Iran after a group of students occupied the US embassy in Tehran.
Until a few years ago, Iran was, in the eyes of the US government, a member of the “axis of evil”. The nuclear program, unveiled earlier last decade, exacerbated tensions. For Iran, the US was the Great Satan.
The Vienna talks have brought about what until recently was unthinkable: seeing two enemies not just talking at the same table, but reaching a common position.
It has taken almost two years of negotiations, dozens of face to face meetings between foreign leaders of six countries, repeated missed deadlines and a final effort of more than two weeks in the Austro-Hungarian palace of Vienna, with tensions and nerves, shouting and banging threats.
Verify, then Trust
President Barack Obama has welcomed the agreement reached in Vienna with Iran to the covenant that “restrains” the spread of nuclear weapons “in the Middle East,” the world’s most volatile region, “and therefore makes the planet a “safer and hopeful” place.
Obama could not avoid bragging about the deal, even though most of the credit should be given to Russia and Iran itself. “Because we negotiated from a position of strength, early today we have slowed the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,” Obama held a speech from the White House.
The president, who has shelled some of the main points of the agreement, said that they meet “each and every one of the basic points” that Washington demanded.
He also made clear that the closure of the deal is not an act of good faith, but is accompanied by a robust verification system. “This agreement is not based on trust, is based on verification,” he stressed.
Obama addressed the American people, but above all, the US Congress, whose members must now review the agreement and sanction it, which some legislators, most of them Israeli supporters, refuse to do.
They have been told they have to take into account not only the implications of this agreement, “but what would happen without it.” Basically, the US would be left alone and unable to impose sanctions on Iran or to verify that Tehran does not build an atomic bomb.
“I do not accept that the agreement means there will be a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,” Obama argued.
“It would be irresponsible to move away from this agreement,” insisted Obama, who reminded that a couple that sanctions were imposed in order to force Iran to negotiate through diplomatic channels, that is precisely what has been done.
Win, Win, Win, Lose
Despite having tried for two decades to block Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his disgust about the United States, its main ally, and the other major powers who do not share his apocalyptic vision.
“Tehran has received a go-ahead signal for atomic weapons. Thanks to the concessions received, many of the limitations that prevented it are going to be lifted,” he said in Jerusalem shortly before the deal became official in Vienna.
“But we have been committed to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon, and that commitment is maintained,” he said
Netanyahu and much of the Israeli society share the view that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the survival of the Jewish state. “In the streets of Tehran people still keep shouting “Death to America”,”Death to Israel,” said Netanyahu.
“Now, Iran is going to get hundreds of billions of dollars -after the lifting of sanctions- to pursue its policy of aggression and terror in the Middle East and around the world: it is a mistake of historic proportions,” he said, alluding ties between the Islamic Republic and Hamas in Gaza as well as Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tzipi Hotovely, called the deal a “historic surrender of the West to an axis of evil led by Iran.” In the ranks of the ruling party, Likud, the Immigration Minister Zeev Elkin, called on the opposition to “close ranks with the government to battle together in Congress and on American public opinion,” reported Israel Army Radio.
Netanyahu’s cabinet has been preparing for months to influence the US legislature, which will have to review and give the final approval of the agreement signed in Vienna. The close campaign for the presidential and legislative elections of 2016 may also favor the strategy of the Prime Minister, who hopes to have the support of the influential American Jewish community.