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July 15th, 2015

Five things your class needs to know about the Iran nuclear deal

World

iran photo

By Gabby Shacknai

On Tuesday, after two years of negotiations, a group of six nations led by the United States achieved a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran aimed at preventing the country from developing nuclear weaponry. Use the following points to explain the nuclear deal, and refer to the vocab sheet for key terms.

1) Although there had been several unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a deal with Iran since 2002, talks between Iran and the P5+1 regarding Iran’s nuclear program officially began in February 2013. These negotiations were further propelled by two events: the Obama administration’s opening of a back channel to Iran in March 2013, which led to several covert bilateral meetings in Oman, and the June 2013 election of Hassan Rouhani, who was educated in Scotland and had previously served as Iran’s nuclear negotiator.

2) The agreement places limits on Iran’s uranium enrichment and enrichment-related activities for eight years. Iran will keep its uranium stockpile to under 300 kg of up to 3.67 percent enriched uranium for 15 years, and all enrichment at the Fordow center will cease immediately. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), will have 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear facilities, a permanent arrangement to assure the P5+1 that Iran will not be able to divert materials from known facilities to covert ones. President Barack Obama said of the deal, “this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification.”

3) In return for its cooperation, Iran will receive relief from the sanctions imposed by the U.S and the UN Security Council. However, the country must complete key nuclear steps before the sanctions end. Over the next decade, it must abide by the deal before any additional sanctions are lifted. The United States is not removing its trade embargo on Iran or sanctions related to its support of terrorist networks. If Iran violates the deal in any way, all these sanctions will snap back into place.

4) The deal may go down as President Obama’s biggest diplomatic achievement. However it is expected to face considerable opposition from the Republican-led Congress who still has to review it. If the congressional review goes against the president, he has stated that he will veto the disapproval legislation. He then needs 34 votes in the 100-member Senate to sustain his veto.

5) Not everyone was celebrating the accord. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, called it a “historic mistake” that would ultimately create a “terrorist nuclear superpower.” Iran does not recognize Israel and has said in the past that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map. As a result, Israel will ramp up its efforts to lobby Congress to oppose the deal.

 

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