Understanding the Iran Deal

By FCNL. Click here to download as a pdf.

After years spent teetering on the brink of war with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action offers an unprecedented opportunity for lasting peace. This deal seals off Tehran’s potential pathways to a nuclear weapon and subjects Iran to a robust transparency and inspection regime. The world is safer with the Iran deal than without it.

The deal dramatically shrinks Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran is retiring most of its centrifuges, shipping out most of its enriched uranium stockpile, and reducing how highly it enriches uranium. Iran is also converting its plutonium reactor to operate exclusively for research. These restrictions mean Iran would not have enough nuclear material to build even one bomb. The deal increases Iran’s “breakout time” to develop the fuel for a nuclear weapon from 2-3 months to a year or more.

Inspectors will have the access they need.

Inspectors have 24/7 access to Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran also has to grant inspectors access to other suspicious sites within a maximum of 24 days, if the U.S. and Europeans demand it. With access, inspectors can detect nuclear material not only days but many years after nuclear activities took place. If Iran blocks access, the U.S. and EU can snap sanctions back into place.

This deal is only about Iran’s nuclear program.

As diplomacy continues following the deal the U.S. and others can begin to address Iran’s human rights abuses — including the imprisoned U.S. citizens there. The deal also keeps sanctions in place against Iranian support for terrorism. Rejecting this deal will only make it harder to negotiate on these and other issues including Middle East security, trade, and arms embargoes.

Congress could jeopardize all this progress.

If Congress decides to reject a deal, it would also block the new inspections, restrictions, and verification that are obtained through this deal. Without a deal, Iran would have little incentive to scale back its nuclear program, increasing the risk that the U.S. and Israel would eventually attack Iran’s nuclear program, leading to a full-fledged war. This deal is the best path to peace.

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