Pollack writes, “The reader is free to make up his own mind about the merits of the deal and the extent to which it advances U.S. interests and U.S. security, and that of our allies.
“Forget how far away the terms of the deal may be from the ones President Obama insisted on two years ago, last year, or even last month. The saga of U.S. concessions to Iran is what’s known as a “process story,” and one thing the Obama years should teach us is that process stories – stories about how the administration achieves its policy objectives, as opposed to the policies themselves – have increasingly little purchase on our political debates. So, without further ado:
What we get:
– Iran reduces by about half the number of centrifuges actively enriching uranium
– Iran reduces its stockpile of enriched uranium from about five tons to 300 kilograms
– Iran repurposes its heavy water reactor in Arak so it does not produce plutonium
– An unspecified increase in inspections by the IAEA
What Iran gets:
– Repeal of six UN Security Council resolutions declaring the Iranian nuclear program illegal
– Top IRGC and Quds Force terrorists removed from the sanctions list, including Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s campaign against U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and Ahmad Vahidi, mastermind of the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people
– The removal from the sanctions list of approximately 800 people and legal entities, including 23 out of 24 Iranian banks
– $100 to $150 billion to be unfrozen and given to Iran with no restrictions on its use to purchase arms and fund terrorism, including funding for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Assad regime in Syria
– Iran keeps its entire physical nuclear infrastructure, including the enrichment facilities at Fordow and Natanz and the nuclear reactor at Bushehr
– Iran permitted to continue research and development on all of its advanced centrifuge designs, reducing nuclear breakout time at the end of the deal to weeks
– Iran permitted to transition its allowed enrichment of uranium from older centrifuge designs to advanced designs
– No “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Iran can delay inspection of any site for at least 24 days
– No requirement that Iran fully disclose past nuclear weapons research and development (known as the PMD issue)
– Restrictions on enrichment – part of the “sunset” of the deal – are lifted after eight years
– If Iran is thought to have violated the deal, in order to “snap back” sanctions a dispute resolution process must be undertaken that can last two and a half months, after which the matter can be referred to the UN Security Council. At the UNSC, the re-imposition of sanctions can be vetoed by Russia, which stands to earn billions of dollars from arms sales to a non-sanctioned Iran.
Concessions unrelated to nuclear program:
– Ballistic missile embargo lifted after eight years
– Conventional arms embargo lifted after five years
– Iran keeps U.S. hostages
I leave it to the reader to judge whether President Obama got the best deal he could Pollak writes in conclusion.
But if you really want to know how those living near Iran view the nuclear deal, the Associated Press reports it was met with a profound wariness in the Arab world, where concerns are widespread that the easing of its international isolation could tip the already bloody contest for power in the region toward Shiite-led Iran.
Arab countries have deep fears of Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, and some have been skeptical that a deal will prevent that from happening. But equally high for key Sunni-dominated Gulf allies of the United States is the worry that a deal gives Iran the means — through an economic windfall — and an implicit green light to push influence in the region.
Regardless, military and diplomatic officials are saying the nuclear and conventional arms race in the middle east is already underway as President Obama was long expected to trade world stability and security for an illusion of agreement accomplishing nothing but temporary optics.