US nuclear deal with Iran signals first step toward peace

By: Roger Hoke – News Editor

Lausanne, Switzerland, was the setting last week for an important moment in U.S. and world history when a tentative Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was agreed upon with Iran, according to CNN.

Iran has agreed to many different limits regarding their nuclear program.

Two-thirds of Iran’s uranium enriching centrifuges, which make uranium usable for nuclear weapons will be placed under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The remaining centrifuges will only be allowed to do a minimal amount of work for the next 10 to 15 years.

The IAEA will also keep a close watch on the nuclear facilities Iran will have in operation for the next 25 years. Iran will have to give open access to IAEA officials to all parts of their nuclear facilities and the country will also have to gain prior approval before building any new nuclear facilities.

BBC News reported several key points in the deal.

The plan includes reducing the uranium in Iranian posession to oxide form so that it is no longer usable for nuclear production. The only centrifuges Iran is allowed to produce are to replace machines no longer in operation.

Also, work on the Arak heavy-water reactor, which can turn plutonium to uranium is being halted by the deal.

No works are to be commissioned, no fuel is to be made for it and testing can no longer be done on it for nuclear purposes.

BBC News reports that if Iran meets these requirments, the world powers will offer multiple reparations to Iran for its suffering economy.

The powers will offer “limited, temporary, targeted and reversable refief” to Iran. No new nuclear sanctions will be put on Iran if they abide by the current parameters. Also, $4.2 billion of oil revenue will be given to Iran in installments.

Most importantly, many sanctions on the import and export regulations Iran follows will be lifted, allowing for Iran’s economy to grow.

Israeli officials were quick to criticize the JCPOA, noting several issues they felt were left uncovered, according to The New York Times. A few of the criticisms Israeli leaders had were: there should be an end to any research on nuclear development in Iran, nearly all Iranian centrifuges should be confiscated in case Iran breaks the JCPOA and tries to build a bomb and revelation of past nuclear activity done by the country’s military program.

United States officials see the deal in completely different way than the diplomats of Israel.

President Barack Obama felt the JCPOA was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” Obama also stated he thought the deal was kind gesture in the way of Israel, reported The New York Times.

“This is our best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon,” Obama said in an interview with Thomas L. Friedman, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, published Sunday. “What we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there.”

Obama and Secratery of State John Kerry have both shown support of the deal, but some congressional republicans have shown frustration with the accord.

According to The Guardian, John Boehner, the House speaker, refered to  the deal as “an alarming departure from the White House’s initial goals” and insisted that Congress “be allowed to fully review the details of any agreement before any sanctions are lifted.”

“These negotiations began, by President Obama’s own admission, as an effort to deny Iran nuclear capabilities, but instead will only legitimize those activities,” former Florida governor and potential president candidate Jeb Bush said. “I cannot stand behind such a flawed agreement.”

“President Obama’s deal with Iran is a good one,” President of Ohio College Democrats Mike Brill said. “It restricts Iran’s ability to create nuclear weapons while still allowing Iran to grow its economy through nuclear energy and reduced economic sanctions from the international community.”

UD college republicans did not respond for comment.

All the exact parameters of the JCPOA according to the U.S. Department of State can be viewed at  http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/04/240170.htm.