"This deal is not based on trust, it's based on unprecedented verification." - President Obama
Remember the interim deal reached with Iran a few months ago? According to President Obama's speech (above) last week, it's been successful and the United States, along with the rest of the P5, have negotiated a framework for a permanent agreement that will lift sanctions on Iran while deterring their nuclear program.
The key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program include:
- Reduction in uranium enrichment capability
- Increased transparency and inspections
- Suspension of reprocessing research (for plutonium)
- Lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran
As I always say, according to the Nonproliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to peaceful nuclear energy, but it needs to assure the absence of a nuclear weapons program through transparency. Iran has faltered on its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and therefore, that justifies sanctions by the UN Security Council.
The details of this framework take into account all parties interests and it is a good deal, overall. The international community can ensure the lack of nuclear weapons development in Iran while Iran keeps its peaceful nuclear technology, used for nuclear energy and research and development. Premier scientific programs and advanced electricity generation are important and a source of pride for Iran.
While this framework meets stakeholder interests and legitimizes those options, the negotiation was conducted using power from the side of the U.S. and the rest of the P5. As President Obama says, it is not based on trust. Because of this, I am concerned for the sustainability of the deal.
Successful negotiations are built on good relationships and open lines of communication. The transparency portion of this deal will be the most important as it will build mutual trust and thus make the relationship between Iran, the IAEA, and international community stronger. A deal based on trust will be more sustainable and even eliminate the need for a "deal."
As a nuclear nonproliferation expert, I think this is a good framework, and my Iranian classmate agrees. I urge the U.S. Congress and other policymakers to support it.