April 3, 2015
In the final stages of March Madness, when most readers see a sequence of numbers, they think about their betting card. Consider instead the framework accord reached between the US and its partners and Iran. To what questions are the following the answer: 15,000, 12,000, 10, 5, and 0?
The first is the answer to the question: How many pounds of low-enriched uranium will be neutralized? The second, 12,000, responds to the question: How many centrifuges will be decommissioned? The third, fourth, and fifth numbers answer: How many months will Iran’s “breakout” timeline to a bomb will be extended? How many bombs’ worth of low-enriched uranium will be neutralized? And how many bombs’ worth of plutonium will Iran able to produce?
If our objective is preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb, if and when this agreement is finalized and implemented, will Iran be a step closer to a bomb, as the Israeli government spokesman asserted today? Or will Iran take a step back further away from its nuclear goal line? If one analyzes the numbers, the answer is clear.
For more detail, see Iran Matters.
Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs