Contrary to what has been widely reported, the United States and its partners have already agreed to allow Iran to enrich uranium “with mutually agreed parameters.” And they gave their initial consent to a “sunset clause” on international restrictions in the nuclear deal negotiated in Geneva last weekend.
According to a Washington Post editorial published Friday, the interim nuclear agreement signed with Iran last week leaves the United States and world powers at a disadvantage in negotiating a future long-term agreement.
“The fact sheet distributed by the Obama administration about the nuclear agreement with Iran is notable for its omissions,” the paper charges.
The deal sought to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for eased sanctions — by capping Tehran’s uranium enrichment capabilities, stopping plans to build a plutonium-producing reactor in Arak and having Iran agree to surprise international inspections at nuclear sites. But, the paper notes, major concessions were made to the Islamic Republic on the terms for a final deal. It urges that a balance be set ahead of expected talks for that permanent agreement.
“The United States and its partners have already agreed that Iranian enrichment activity will continue indefinitely. In contrast, a long-standing US demand that an underground enrichment facility be closed is not mentioned [in the agreement],” the editorial read.
Although Obama administration officials have repeatedly said that the US does not recognize Iran’s “right” the enrich uranium, the paper notes that the text of the deal says the “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters.”
Iran has stated repeatedly since the interim deal was signed on Sunday that they have secured international recognition of their “right” to enrich uranium.
“The most troubling part of the document,,” The Washington Post wrote, “provides for what amounts to a sunset clause in the comprehensive agreement. It says the final deal will ‘have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon,’ and that once that time period is complete, ‘the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party’ to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran thus could look forward to a time when there would be no sanctions and no special restrictions on its nuclear capacity; it could install an unlimited number of centrifuges and produce plutonium without violating any international accord.”
“The United States should retain the ability to block the expiration of controls with its veto in the UN Security Council,” the paper urged.