Iran Makes a Deal

For around seven billion dollars in sanctions relief, the International Community gets Iran to agree for six months to no net increases in its stockpile of enriched uranium, no new production of uranium enriched beyond five percent, the destruction, or dilution, of all uranium enriched to near 20 percent, which is one technical step away from weapons grade uranium, no new centrifuges, more than half of Iran’s already existing centrifuges idled, all next-generation centrifuges idled, and all construction on its hard-water reactor near Arak, which could be used to make plutonium, stopped while Iran would have to allow more invasive monitoring, including daily visits by IAEA, inspectors to nuclear sites.

Although this deal reached in November, 2013 negiocations may only delay the ability of Iran to produce nuclear material from two weeks to only two months according to former IAEA deputy director Ollie Heinonen, it does break the forward momentum. Before we can reverse the nuclearization process, the social inertia that has been provoking our adversarial relationship with Iran for decades must be overcome. This intermediate deal ensures the US and the rest of the world can continue to engage in negotiations over the nuclear issue and other grievances we have with Iran without giving up too much. Six months is a long time, if used properly. Consequently, the deal affords the US, the International Community, and Iran the space to develop a more mature plan without easing the lion’s share of our sanctions. In addition, the seven billion dollars gives Iran assurances that the world is serious.

That said, this writer would not bet on normalized relationships, especially if I were a speculative investor, because things could go south very quickly if Iran cannot start building trustworthy relationships with its neighbors, which it will take more than six month to overcome several decades of bad conduct. The world wants to be certain Iran will not get a nuclear bomb, because Iran has demonstrated a willingness to support terrorist activities while a nuclear arms race is the last thing the Middle East needs. As such, Iran must engage in confidence building on all fronts. This, of course, includes internal reforms as well as an end to its involvement in the Syrian Civil War and other regional conflicts.

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