Iran deal: What you need to know
International negotiators announced a landmark agreement Tuesday to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
Excerpts of the agreement shed light on some details of the pact, which was crafted by seven countries during 20 months of negotiations. The text of the full agreement appears to have been released by the Russian government.
While unanswered questions about the deal remain, here’s what’s known right now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But despite those promises, the agreement doesn’t completely dismantle Iran’s nuclear program. Critics argue that giving Iran any ability to manufacture nuclear ingredients is unacceptable.
U.S. and international commitments
International agreements: The United Nations is expected to agree to the deal in the next 10 days, according to The New York Times. Congress has 60 days to review the terms once the text of the agreement is given to lawmakers. And Iran must obtain the blessing of its parliament and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
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.
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.
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.”
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, according to the Times.
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.
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.
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.
Updated at 8:30 p.m.
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