WASHINGTON – The United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany (P5 + 1) and Iran reached an historic framework agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program last week. The “Common Understanding On Principles” claims to take steps that will keep Iran from producing a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the country.
“This historic agreement between the international community and Iran on its nuclear program will ensure it will not produce a nuclear weapon making the U.S. and the world a safer place,” declared Paul Kawika Martin, the political director of Peace Action, the largest peacec group in the U.S. founded to deal with abolishing nuclear weapons.
“This agreement promises to keep Iran at least a year away from having the fissile material needed to make a crude nuclear weapon,” Martin said. “Without an agreement, that timeline shrinks to three months and the threat of war increases dramatically.”
Martin has been working on the Iran issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in Iran.
Recent polls show that Americans oppose military intervention by 71 percent and support reaching an agreement. The parties conducted marathon negotiations past their self-imposed deadline of Mar. 31 to develop the solutions that will create the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (CJPOA). The parties have until June 30 to agree the technical and implementation specifics and sign the deal that will last ten years with parts lasting longer including inspections and monitoring set to occur indefinitely.
“The success of these talks, again proves that diplomacy works. Instead of isolation, sanctions that don’t affect leaders or military intervention that costs vast amounts of blood and treasure and untold long term costs and unintended consequences, the U.S. used dialogue, negotiations and the international community to solve conflict. These notable negotiations may pave the way for more discussions on issues like human rights and regional security that will further reduce Middle East tensions,” added Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action.
The agreement includes five major components: Decreasing the stockpile of material that could possibly be made into fissile material, limiting the quantity and quality of centrifuges that could make highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb, reconfiguring the nuclear reactor (and securing its spent fuel) in the city of Arak so it produces an insignificant amount of weapons grade plutonium, implementing unprecedented inspections and comprehensive monitoring and, finally, scheduling and implementing the lifting of specific sanctions on Iran.
“An agreement with Iran on its nuclear program is better than any imaginable alternative. Military strategists have said over and over again that a military intervention with Iran would at best slightly delay any nuclear program and at worst force Iran to engage in getting a nuclear weapon even if they had no such program. Any letters or legislation that offers more sanctions or ties the hands of the negotiators are clearly meant to kill the talks. Poison pill bills like Senator Bob Corker’s that could delay implementation of an agreement for months and puts certification hurdles nearly impossible to clear should be defeated. Scuttling the accord would be very short sighted as an agreement with Iran on their nuclear program would likely lead to productive negotiations on other items of concern with the Iranian Government. More sanctions on Iran are likely to only embolden Iranian hardliner rather than solving the problem,” concluded Martin.
Photo: Obama speaks on the breakthrough in Iranian nuclear talks. | Susan Walsh/AP