Iran and Security Council Reach Historic AgreementBy Ivan Arturo Ebergenyi Thorpe
Sanctions would be lifted in exchange for curtailment of uranium enrichment program.
An agreement, widely described as historic, has been reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and permanent member nations of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The deal, which has yet to be reviewed by the United States House of Representatives before it gets implemented, was reached in its final form on Tuesday during an 18 day long series of talks which took place in Vienna.
“This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring,” said U.S. President Barack Obama during a statement regarding the deal. “Every pathway that would lead to a nuclear weapon is cut off. And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place.”
The agreement – currently laid out on a 160 page long document – is the culmination of a multinational effort to reconcile Iran’s development of a nuclear energy program and measures taken by the American government to prevent it.
The Iranian government justifies this program as its sovereign right to generate its own energy. This initiative however, has been a source of concern for American officials who have voiced suspicion of the initiative being aimed at covertly developing a nuclear arsenal.
This concern has had wavering degrees of support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). To date there is no evidence of such an arsenal having ever been built, but there is concern with the Iranian regime using civilian technology to covertly enrich uranium to manufacture a nuclear bomb.
Aside from the Iraq war period during the ‘80s, the Iranian government – a current signatory of the 1970 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – has denied the validity of these concerns.
Indeed, a large part of the momentum behind Tuesday’s deal is rooted in Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani’s hopes of lifting heavy sanctions imposed by the administration of George W. Bush in 2007, in response to the country’s perceived funding of terrorist groups.
The lifting of the sanctions, which would take place gradually, would allow the Iranian government access to approximately US $150 billion in frozen funds.
The Iranian government has, in exchange, agreed to eliminate two thirds of its centrifuges needed for uranium enrichment and have them available for international inspection. Likewise, 98% of the uranium already enriched must be disposed of; recognition must be given of the reinstatement of economic sanctions should the agreement be breached; and access “where necessary, when necessary” must be provided to international inspectors.
The Rouhani administration has also agreed to accept a 5 year long arms embargo imposed by the United States; 8 years long for missiles.
For the deal to be in effect, the United States Congress –currently dominated by the Republican Party – must approve it in less than 60 days. That said, President Obama has already stated his intention to use his veto power should the agreement be rejected by U.S. lawmakers.
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