April 3, 2015
Overall a good agreement and better than many expected. Early review of the State Department list of the central points of the agreement shows a variety of positive limitations on enrichment levels and quantity, low-enriched uranium stocks, the Arak reactor, and reprocessing, as well as broad International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) authorities for access to Iranian nuclear facilities, including any suspected covert facilities. Sanctions relief is timed to Iranian compliance, limited to actions involving the Iran nuclear program, and subject to a snap-back for UN sanctions in the event of unresolved disputes concerning Iranian compliance.
On balance the duration limits assure the one-year breakout standard applies for 10 years, some limitations for 15, and some inspections for a longer period, and even permanently.
Devils are in the details, and further careful study will be required. But on the face of it, the arrangements look like a good exchange of sensible limitations on Iran's nuclear efforts and sanctions relief that is quite extensive, but designed to kick in as the IAEA certifies compliance by Tehran.
Thomas R. Pickering
former US ambassador to the United Nations
India, and Russia