In a landmark deal, the group of nations known as the P5+1—the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia, and China—reached an agreement with Iran on Sunday to temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program.
"Sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure—a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon."
There are several key provisions to the deal. Under the agreement, Iran has will stop enriching uranium beyond five percent, a level that would be sufficient for energy production but that would require further enrichment for bomb-making. Additionally, Iran will allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency daily access to nuclear facilities, which will permit inspectors to review surveillance camera footage to ensure comprehensive monitoring.
In exchange for Iranian compliance, the P5+1 will provide limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible sanction relief while maintaining the vast bulk of their sanctions, including the oil, finance, and banking sanctions architecture. If Iran fails to meet its commitments, the P5+1 will revoke the relief.
This agreement with Iran is a potential game changer. The deal has been met with a mixed reception, but many see this development as significant, opening up a pathway for Iran as it seeks a new relationship with the international community.
Joining The Takeaway to explain how the deal came about and what's next is Mark Fitzpatrick, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Non-Proliferation at the U.S. State Department who is now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Also weighing in is Gary Sick, a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. Sick is also the author of “All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran.”