What Is The Iran Nuclear Deal?
Ratified in 2015, the Nuclear Deal was introduced as a reinforcement of “peace and security”(Source) in the Middle East under the Obama Administration. The treaty was designed to prevent Tehran from “seek[ing], develop[ing], or acquir[ing]”(Source) nuclear weapons by reducing their stockpiles of enriched uranium, cutting down on their amount of centrifuges, prohibiting the production of plutonium for weapons. In exchange, signing countries would lift trade sanctions and regain access to previously frozen assets overseas(worth about $100 billion)(Source). China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K, the E.U, and Iran are currently party to the deal.
Up until recently, Iran seemed to be following the terms of the deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA). In addition to a good faith clause, as a term of the deal, the E.U set up a Joint Commission to regularly inspect Tehran’s former nuclear development sites to ensure that they are complying with all standards. Recently, the Commission found that Tehran is still violating the terms of the Deal, and its stockpile of enriched uranium has grown to more than 11 kilograms over the limit set in the deal(Source). This news comes little more than 3 months after the country declared it’s intentions to reduce it’s commitments to the deal(Source).
Last May, President Trump made international headlines after he declared his intentions to withdraw the U.S from the agreement, as an exercise of executive power(Source), claiming that the agreement was “defective at it’s core”(Source). Following this action, we imposed new sanctions against Tehran. The balance of power in the Middle East has shifted, benefitting China and Russia by expanding their influence in the region(Source). The future of denuclearization in Iran has been called into question, which could potentially endanger Israel as a result of an aggregation of the continuing conflict over the West Bank/Gaza(Source).
The deal’s enhanced uranium cap is currently set to expire in 2030(Source). At that point, there will be no laws limiting Iran from enriching enough of the substance to manufacture a bomb. However, it is imperative to note that several clauses, most notably the clause prohibiting Tehran from designing or developing a nuclear weapon, will never expire.