With President Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, we thought a quick guide to the international agreement might be helpful.Who is involved?: Iran made the agreement with six countries — the U.S., U.K., Russia, France, China, Germany — and the European Union.
What does the deal do, in one sentence? The deal lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for stricter limits on Iran’s nuclear energy and enrichment programs.
How about some more specifics? Iran agreed to cut the number of its centrifuges in operation. (They can be used to enrich nuclear material to weapons-grade levels.) Leaders in Tehran also agreed to reduce the country’s stockpile of uranium, and redesign a specific facility so it cannot produce plutonium that could be used in a nuclear bomb. Finally, as part of the deal, Iran must give international inspectors access to facilities within 24 days of a request by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Timeline: Iran agreed to abide by these provisions for at least eight years. Some parts of the deal last 10, 15 or 25 years.
What if Iran violates the deal?: Sanctions against Iran would automatically “snap back” into place for 10 years.
France – stands to lose significant business dealings with Iran as a result of the reinstated sanctions. Losing deals to provide 100 new Airbus airliners, and opening a $5bn oil exploration project with Iran means real world economic consequences for a close ally of the United States.
Mike Pompeo – Secretary of State now has his work cut out for him. He must navigate the anger from Europe and Russia, while convincing North Korea that America will honour the deal they are currently negotiating.
What does the nuclear deal have to do with the oil price? – When Iran pledged to limit its nuclear ambitions to civil energy production under the deal with the P5+1 group of world powers – the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – sanctions were lifted on its oil exports, giving a significant boost to global oil supplies.
What is Trump’s role?: Under U.S. law, every 90 days the president must certify that Iran is complying with the agreement. Trump did that twice, and then he decertified it in October. The larger decisions were whether to pull the United States out of the deal and/or reimpose sanctions.
Consequences: The deal, called a “framework” agreement, is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal has other consequ
1) It greatly undermines U.S. national interests by eroding its credibility, by splitting the United States from its European allies and the international community, by upending an agreement that effectively blocked Iran’s nuclear aspirations at the weapons level, and by wasting billions of dollars of political, financial, and human capital the United States invested to reach the JCPOA.
2) It erodes the pillars of the rules-based international system as it questions the independent power and diplomatic credibility of European states, especially if they are not able to safeguard the deal from American violations. Likewise, Trump’s decision undermines the value and significance of multilateralism and international institutions, especially those operating towards the global nuclear non-proliferation regime such as the IAEA.
3) it marks a turning point in the post-revolutionary history of modern Iran as the first major bitter experience of the country’s youth with the United States and the first direct public negotiation with America–inflaming Iranian nationalism, undermining the value of engaging the West, and shifting the domestic discourse to a hardline position. This was a gift to Ayatollah Khamenei as it undermines the platform of moderate President Rouhani, claiming he was right to tell everyone not to trust the Americans. Now Khamenei will turn to undermine the credibility of the Europeans by turning all eyes on the EU powers, before Iran uses the U.S. violation and withdrawal of the agreement to move beyond the deal.
Source: By Lisa Desjardins, Getty Images, Harvard Kennedy School