Gerald (Jerry) Zezas

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The Iran Deal Demystified

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The scenario without the Iran deal:

Iran builds nukes, Israel attacks Iran, Iran retaliates against Israel, other Arab countries attack Israel, we have to intervene because Repubs love Israel, we are involved in another Middle East war with armies and governments much larger and more powerful than Iraq ever was.

We don’t legitimize these people by negotiating with them. They already consider themselves to be legitimized and aren’t waiting for us to validate them. We need to moderate their behavior, that’s all. Egos and ideology need to go out the window.

Here are the details of the agreement:

Uranium stockpile: Iran has agreed to slash its stockpile of enriched uranium by about 98 percent, from about 10,000 kilograms to less than 300 kg over 15 years. That uranium must be kept at a low-enrichment level — at 3.67 percent or less — that would prevent it from being used in a weapon over that period. Weapons grade uranium must be at 90% enrichment and it would take at least a year to achieve that.

Centrifuges: The deal cuts Iran’s nuclear centrifuges by about 66 percent over 10 years, from about 20,000 to 6,000. Those centrifuges are used to isolate the isotopes needed to develop nuclear-grade materials.

Heavy water reactor: Iran will rebuild its Arak heavy water reactor so that it can no longer produce weapons-grade plutonium. The country also won’t be allowed to build a new heavy water reactor for 15 years. Verifiable by international inspectors.

Breakout time: The deal would extend Iran’s breakout time for a nuclear weapon — the time it would need to amass enough nuclear material to build a bomb — to one year, according to the White House. Iran has also agreed to restrictions on other activities required to turn nuclear material into weapons. What people must realize is if Iran commences a nuclear program within this time, there is nothing stopping us or other countries from placing new sanctions on Iran or attacking them. We never give up this right.

Nuclear weapons: Iran underscored a promise to never seek a nuclear weapon, giving the international community more leverage if it violates that pledge. Iran has also agreed to issue a statement that accounts for military aspects of the nuclear program. Once again, if Iran commences nuclear weapons development, nothing stops us from placing new sanctions on them or attacking their facilities.

Adoption Day: Ninety days after the U.N. approves the deal, on what is being called “Adoption Day,” the U.S. and other parties to the deal would set the lifting of sanctions into motion. If Iran violates the agreement at any point, sanctions can snap back into place. Or we could attack their facilities.

Implementation day: Once Iran proves to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it is meeting its obligations under the deal, sanctions from the U.N., European Union and United States would begin to unwind. The restrictions that would be lifted include oil embargoes and banking sanctions, as well as a ban on exports of civilian aircraft parts to Iran.

The U.S. trade embargo with Iran won’t be lifted, and Americans and U.S. financial institutions would largely be banned from dealing with Tehran. This continues after this agreement is approved. We are not appeasing Iran or welcoming them into the family of American allies.

Arms and missile embargo: The U.N. would lift its arms embargo after five years and its ballistic missile embargo after eight years if the IAEA certifies that “all nuclear material in Iran remains in peaceful activities.” Again, if this cannot be verified, all deals are off.

Those concessions are controversial, and the Pentagon has warned against them. But Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that Russia and China had wanted to immediately lift the arms embargoes, so the delay represented a compromise, which is what happens during negotiations.

Termination day: After 10 years and another clean report from the IAEA, all remaining international sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program would be lifted. If Iran were to pose a threat to any nation, all options are available to all nations.

Inspections regime

IAEA takes reins: The international agency would be tasked with ensuring that Iran meets the terms of the deal. At each point, the IAEA would be required to verify that Iran is cooperating. This is the same agency that correctly reported that Iraq did not have WMD, when everyone else in the Bush administration doubted their reports. Their track record is excellent.

Restrictions on inspectors: President Obama touted that monitors would have 24/7 access to nuclear facilities, but their presence in Iran comes with some restrictions.

The monitors would be allowed unfettered access to “declared” nuclear sites under the framework, but Iran has 14 days to push back on a request to inspect “undeclared” sites, which would likely include military facilities.

If the IAEA still has concerns after the 14 days, a review board of the partner nations can decide to grant inspectors access.

Those who denigrate this agreement fail to realize that no one has been able to put together any agreement prior to this one. If there were no agreement, the Russians, who are also suffering by not dealing with Iran, can vote in the UN Security Council to lift all restrictions on Iran at any time, thereby immediately giving Iran their money and unfettered access to build a nuclear program. This agreement gives the world breathing room and avoids the Middle East becoming a hotbed of countries which want nukes to combat a potential threat from Iran.

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