By Laicie Heeley
December 12, 2013
Two weeks after the P5+1 powers reached a deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in return for some sanctions relief, the American public is still trying to make sense of the deal.
Multiple polls, including from Washington Post/ABC and Reuters/Ipsos indicate strong American support for the deal with Iran. Yet a new Pew Research poll suggests many Americans are skeptical about Iran’s intentions, with a plurality disapproving of the agreement. Given that the agreement is so complex, it’s understandable that the U.S. public is making up its mind about the deal. But the reality is that after decades of disappointment, the United States is finally approaching a win with Iran. This is a good deal for the United States and its allies.
The details of the accord, reached in Geneva by the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, square firmly within America’s national security and non-proliferation interests by freezing the progress of Iran’s nuclear program before it reaches critical weapons capacity, while also initiating a rollback of the most sensitive parts of Iran’s nuclear program. That’s a boost for both U.S. and international security. Leading national security experts from across the ideological spectrum agree, including former National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who have found common cause in championing the possibilities an accord presents.
The deal will halt enrichment of uranium at 20 percent levels and requires the existing stock of 20 percent material be converted to an oxide form – a process that effectively eliminates the threat of that uranium being further spun into weapons-grade material. Under the agreement, Iran also will suspend the operation of additional centrifuges and permit the most expansive transparency measures in International Atomic Energy Agency history.
In return, this agreement presents no risk to the United States. For suspending those activities for 6 months as part of the first phase of a two-part deal, Iran will receive $6 billion to $7 billion in sanctions relief. However, the main structure of the sanctions regime remains intact and will continue to cause damage to the Iranian economy as those sanctions that have really hurt – the oil, banking, and financial services sanctions – will stay in place.
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