The negotiation and achievements of the Iran nuclear deal

World Today

With the fate of the Iran nuclear deal now up in the air, CGTN’s Nathan King explains what it took to sign the agreement, and what is has achieved since.

The Iran nuclear deal nearly didn’t happen. Several extensions pushed back the deadline for the agreement, and it took 17 days of nonstop negotiations in Vienna to finish. But on July 14, 2015, a deal was done, bringing to an end more than a decade of sanctions, threats of war and the possible emergence of a new nuclear power.

Recently, the deal’s signatory countries have been stressing what has been achieved in the two years since the signing.

Before the Iran nuclear deal, they argued Iran had 19,000 centrifuges running, 8,000 kilograms of low enriched uranium, a nearly active heavy water plant,  a stockpile of Weapons Grade Uranium, and an estimated two month break out time to make a nuclear weapon.

After the Iran nuclear deal, Iran has given up 2/3 of its centrifuges, shipped out 95 percent of all uranium, and has a 300 kilograms limit of uranium for 15 years. It has also destroyed a heavy water plant, and now has an estimated 12 month break out time to make a nuclear weapon. It is also subject to 25 years of inspections.

The President of the United States, however, is not satisfied with these changes.

“Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it,” Trump told the UN General Assembly in September.

As president and as a candidate, Trump said he would scrap the deal. He and some advisors believe it does not go far enough, and want to include limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which were not included in the deal. The White House also believes that Iran has been given too much sanctions relief while it continues to meddle in the Middle East against U.S. interests in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and beyond.

But the nuclear deal was never designed to tackle Tehran on these other issues. The deal’s backers argue trying to expand the nuclear deal now would backfire, releasing Iran from its obligations, actually harming U.S. security interests.

It would also signal to both allies and adversaries, they argue, that the U.S. is willing to break its word and go back on yet another international agreement.

Meanwhile, Iran is accusing the U.S. of not fully complying with the deal, saying Washington dragging its feet on lifting sanctions and returning frozen assets, while erecting obstacles businesses inking deals in Iran (like aircraft giant Boeing).