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Talks Resume on Nuclear Deal With Iran

Please cheer the good news: U.S. and Iran Agree to Resume Talks on Nuclear Deal

The United States and Iran will take part in talks next week in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, the most extensive effort to shore up the agreement since President Biden took office in January, diplomats said Friday.

Senior officials from all participants in the accord—Iran, France, Germany, the U.K., Russia, China and the European Union, as well as top U.S. officials—will gather in the Austrian capital starting Tuesday.

A face-to-face meeting between officials from the two countries over the nuclear agreement would be the first since late 2017, months before the Trump administration withdrew from the deal in May 2018.

President Biden has said he wants the U.S. to return to the deal, which placed strict but temporary limits on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for a suspension of international sanctions on Tehran.

First Step

Single Best Accomplishment of Obama

The nuclear deal with Iran was the single best and arguably only major accomplishment of Obama in 8 full years.

Trump undid that accomplishment with sanctions and warmongering.

Nuclear Accord Agreement

  • Iran will give up about 14,000 of its 20,000 centrifuges
  • Iran will give up all but its most rudimentary, outdated centrifuges: its first-generation IR-1s, knockoffs of 1970s European models, are all it gets to keep. It will not be allowed to build or develop newer models.
  • Iran will give up 97 percent of its enriched uranium; it will hold on to only 300 kilograms of its 10,000-kilogram stockpile in its current form.
  • Iran will destroy or export the core of its plutonium plant at Arak, and replace it with a new core that cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium. It will ship out all spent nuclear fuel.
  • Inspectors will have access to all parts of Iran's nuclear supply chain, including its uranium mines and the mills where it processes uranium ore. Inspectors will also not just monitor but be required to pre-approve all sales to Iran of nuclear-related equipment. This provision also applies to something called 'dual-use' materials, which means any equipment that could be used toward a nuclear program.

Trump’s Top General Says Iran Honoring Nuke Deal

Flashback, September 26, 2017: ForeignPolicy reports Trump’s Top General Says Iran Honoring Nuke Deal

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday joined other members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet in confirming that Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal that has put a temporary halt to its nuclear weapons program. 

The briefings I have received indicate that Iran is adhering to its JCPOA obligations,” Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote in answers to questions in advance of his hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, using an acronym for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.


IAEA Says Iran Abiding by Nuclear Deal

April 19, 2019: IAEA Says Iran Abiding by Nuclear Deal

“Iran is implementing its nuclear commitments,” said Yukiya Amano, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The agency has had access to “all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit.”

Iran Honoring the Deal?

  1. US State Department: Iran honoring the terms.
  2. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Iran honoring the terms.
  3. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Iran honoring the terms.
  4. Arms Control Association: Iran honoring the terms.
  5. All US European allies: Iran honoring the terms.
  6. Every other signee of the accord: Iran honoring the terms.

Had Trump made the same deal with Iran, most of his supporters would have cheered it. But Trump always thinks he can negotiate a better deal.

Trump's Track Record On Deals

  • China: Zero - But lots of pain from sanctions
  • The Wall: Zero - Schumer offered Trump $20 billion for a wall for some amnesty for Dreamers. That just bit the dust with nothing to show for it.
  • NAFTA Replacement: USMCA was mostly a wash but arguably a bit worse
  • Russia Pipeline to EU: Zero - Trump wanted the EU to buy US Liquid Natural Gas and put sanctions on companies building the Gazprom pipeline. The pipeline will soon be completed. The jobs for building the pipeline were Russian jobs, not EU jobs because of sanctions.

Trump's track record on deals is among the worst in history. 

It will take a concerted effort by Biden to undo the damage Trump to the accord with Iran. 

I don't expect Biden will give us much to cheer about in the next four years, but if he can undo the damage Trump did on the Iran accord, it will be a significant accomplishment.