U.S., Iran Finally Reach Nuclear AgreementBy: Courtney Wills - November 24, 2013
After nearly a decade, America and five other world powers were able to finally reach a tentative agreement with Iran concerning their nuclear program.
For two weeks, Kerry has been traveling to Geneva to try and finally reach an agreement with Iran. It has long-been a concern that Iran was enriching uranium at levels which would produce nuclear warheads. Iran has repeatedly denied this concern, saying that they only use the enriched uranium for ‘peaceful purposes’ and that they have a right to do so – under the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Now, all entities have agree to a six-month plan in which Iran will cease enriching uranium beyond the 5% level that is enough for energy production, but not enough to produce material needed for the nuclear warheads. The agreement also states that Iran will convert their reserve of 20% enriched uranium; will not create any new enriching facilities, nor open any that are not already in operation. Also in the agreement, international auditing of cameras will be allowed daily at the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo to ensure that Iran is holding up their end of the bargain. One other point of the deal says that the plant near Arak currently in construction – which would be able to produce plutonium – will halt, or at least no further reactor elements will be added.
However, Iran did not agree to all aspects of what the U.S. was offering, such as allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency to closely monitor and invade the country to ensure no nuclear missiles are being produced. As well, the deal does not require Iran to shutdown their existing uranium-enriching facilities.
In return for Iran’s cooperation, the U.S. agreed to supply $6-$7 billion in sanctions relief.
The Foreign Minister of Iran said that he hopes that this pact will be able to “restore” trust between Iran and the U.S., as the people of his country deserve Western respect.
President Obama and Secretary Kerry both spoke about the agreement; Obama called the deal the “most significant and tangible” of such a feat.
Secretary of State Kerry also discussed the conclusion of the decade-long negotiations, including the disappointment of Israel, who wanted the U.S. to stick to a much more stringent contract, ending uranium enrichment altogether. The U.S. assures, however, that Iranian persecution of Israel will not be a concern. Kerry said, “It will make our partners in the region safer. It will make our ally Israel safer.”
The agreement was to be in effect for only a six-month time period, at which the nations will meet again. The U.S. is hoping this will lead to a more absolute and substantial pledge from Iran at the end of the six-month term.
Main image courtesy RT via YouTube.