The Iranian Nuclear Deal

The United States and Iran reached agreement placing limits on Iran’s nuclear regime in exchange for ending Western sanctions on Iranian exports.  In a press conference announcing the agreement, President Obama said the agreement would guarantee Iran could not produce nuclear weapons. In exchange for ending the sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations Security Council cost Iran an estimated $150 billion per year in lost oil export revenue and resulted in the seizure of billions in Iranian assets held in Western banks. The deal ends those sanctions but keeps the weapons embargo on Iran in place for an additional five years. The deal permits weapons inspectors to access “any site they deem suspicious,” an apparent rejection of Iran’s position that military sites be excluded from inspections.

The deal still faces opposition from a Republican-controlled Congress, which had previously passed legislation requiring Congressional approval of any deal reached on Iran’s nuclear program. But as the New York Times reported, President Obama is likely to get the deal implemented despite Republican opposition.

Under the terms of legislation passed in May, Congress has 60 days to scrutinize the accord between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany, and then to vote to accept or reject it — or to do nothing. The president can veto any resolution of disapproval. Congress needs a two-thirds majority in each house to override the veto, so to put the deal into force, Mr. Obama only needs one-third of one of the houses to stand with him.

That said, the Israeli government was also critical of the deal, arguing that the new agreement does nothing to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and only delays its progress for a short period of time.

What do you think? Does the new deal represent a significant diplomatic achievement for the Obama administration? Will it be effective in preventing Iranian efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon? Why?

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