As you probably know, details of the penultimate deal with Iran were published yesterday. This deal is so unbelievable, that it’s almost a mugging of Iran. Seriously, it’s hard to imagine what more could have been gotten here. Here are the key points:
- Iran will give up about 14,000 of its 20,000 centrifuges. This is slightly more than we were aiming for.
- Iran will give up all but its first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, and they’re not allowed to build any new ones. These are 1970s era technology, meaning that if they decide to proceed in the future, they’re starting forty years behind where they are today.
- Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67% for at least 15 years. To put that in context, you need to enrich uranium at 90% to build a nuclear weapon. This also sets them back decades if they change their minds about this deal in the future.
- Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67% LEU for 15 years. You don’t need my help with that one. A 97% reduction pretty clear.
- All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage and will be used only as replacements for operating centrifuges and equipment. This is going to happen immediately, so we won’t have to wait long to see if they’re earnest in their intentions to abide by this agreement.
- Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
- The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including to Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordow, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies. There’s a whole lot more language giving the IAEA the power to inspect anything, at any time, and for any reason. The level of transparency that Iran agreed to is ridiculously thorough. If someone tries to tell you that Iran can still hide stuff, ask them to provide you with an example of the IAEA missing nuclear development anywhere in the world.
You can read all of the details here (don’t let someone tell you what’s in the deal, read it for yourself).
Here’s what Iran gets in exchange for everything they agreed to; the world (US and EU) lifts its sanctions after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps. If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.
So to recap, President Obama increased the sanctions to the point where Iran cried, "UNCLE" and gave up much more than anyone ever thought they would in exchange for lifting those sanctions. He didn’t bomb them. He didn’t get a single American soldier (or civilian for that matter) killed. He negotiated like grown ups do.
Bush handled Iraq the republican way, and we got ISIS and tens of thousands of dead Americans and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. And this is just the beginning. So when republicans tell you that negotiating with Iran was stupid because we don’t know if they’re going to hold up their end of the bargain, ask them how fucking stupid and naive they think Reagan was when he negotiated with The Soviet Union. And ask them what Reagan got up front from Gorbachev before holding up his end of the deal.
It’s time for republicans to stop weighing in on foreign policy. They have a stupid view of the world, that brings terrible consequences. And they further their stupidity making up some stupid shit about (for example) how ISIS was formed because Obama pulled out of Iraq too soon. When you don’t know history, you sure as fuck don’t know how to proceed in the future. They compound their stupidity with ignorance. Not only did ISIS form in 2003, but we left Iraq when we did because we were bound by Bush’s status of forces agreement, which had an end date. Obama did his damndest to keep us there. The Iraqi government was having none of it. So even in their fairy tale version, where ISIS didn’t form until after we left Iraq, they’re still a product of Bush’s stupidity.
Republicans need to shut up now. Obama’s got this. That brings me to the other thought I had about this post I wrote four years ago (you’re going to want to read it). In it, I talk about the political theater that is being put on for us. It’s a show where we have every component of Star Wars, except that the "good guys" are hapless and can’t seem to deliver on what they really want to deliver on. Republicans are the bad guys, not even pretending to be serving anyone but their corporate masters anymore. Democrats are (we’re supposed to believe) the hapless good guys who are always being overpowered by republicans.
I’m more sure of that dynamic now than I’ve ever been. Obama can negotiate, and he can be tough. He can get more than we could have hoped for from Iran, but he couldn’t get us single payer health insurance (or even a medicare buy in provision). Obama’s kick ass performance here, in negotiating this deal, just highlights what I said in that piece four years ago.