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Story 1: President Trump Withdraws United States From Obama/Kerry Iran Nuclear Deal — Obama’s Legacy — Going, Going, Gone — The End — Videos —

 

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Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
Iran Talks Vienna 14 July 2015 (19067069963).jpg

Officials announcing the agreement
Created 14 July 2015
Ratified N/A (ratification not required)
Date effective
  • 18 October 2015 (Adoption)[1]
  • 16 January 2016 (Implementation)[2]
Location ViennaAustria
Signatories IranRussiaChinaEuropean UnionUnited States(withdrawing)[3]
Purpose Nuclear non-proliferation

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOAPersianبرنامه جامع اقدام مشترک‎, translit. barnāme jāme‘ eqdām moshtarakacronymبرجامBARJAM[4][5]), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security CouncilChinaFranceRussiaUnited KingdomUnited States—plus Germany),[a] and the European Union.

Formal negotiations toward the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program began with the adoption of the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in November 2013. For the next twenty months, Iran and the P5+1 countries engaged in negotiations, and in April 2015 agreed on an Iran nuclear deal framework for the final agreement. In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 confirmed agreement on the plan along with the “Roadmap Agreement” made between Iran and the IAEA.[8]

Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years. For the next 15 years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%. Iran also agreed not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks. To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities. The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic sanctions.

On 13 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would not make the certification provided for under U.S. domestic law, but stopped short of terminating the deal.[9] On 30 April 2018, the United States and Israel stated that Iran did not disclose a past covert nuclear weapons program to the IAEA, which was required in the 2015 deal.[10][11]

IAEA inspectors spend 3,000 calendar days per year in Iran, installing tamper-proof sealings and collecting surveillance camera photos, measurement data and documents for further analysis. IAEA Director Yukiya Amano stated (in March 2018) that the organization has verified that Iran is implementing its nuclear-related commitments.[12]

On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement.[13][14]

Background

nuclear weapon uses a fissile material to cause a nuclear chain reaction. The most commonly used materials have been uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). Both uranium 233 (U-233) and reactor-grade plutonium have also been used.[15][16][17] The amount of uranium or plutonium needed depends on the sophistication of the design, with a simple design requiring approximately 15 kg of uranium or 6 kg of plutonium and a sophisticated design requiring as little as 9 kg of uranium or 2 kg of plutonium.[18] Plutonium is almost nonexistent in nature, and natural uranium is about 99.3% uranium 238 (U-238) and 0.7% U-235. Therefore, to make a weapon, either uranium must be enriched, or plutonium must be produced. Uranium enrichment is also frequently necessary for nuclear power. For this reason, uranium enrichment is a dual-use technology, a technology which “can be used both for civilian and for military purposes”.[19] Key strategies to prevent proliferation of nuclear arms include limiting the number of operating uranium enrichment plants and controlling the export of nuclear technology and fissile material.[17][19]

Iranian development of nuclear technology began in the 1970s, when the U.S. Atoms for Peace program began providing assistance to Iran, which was then led by the Shah.[20] Iran signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in 1968 as a non-nuclear weapons state and ratified the NPT in 1970.[20]

In 1979 the Iranian Revolution took place, and Iran’s nuclear program, which had developed some baseline capacity, fell to disarray as “much of Iran’s nuclear talent fled the country in the wake of the Revolution.”[20] Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was initially opposed to nuclear technology; and Iran engaged in a costly war with Iraq from 1980 to 1988.[20]

Starting in the later 1980s, Iran restarted its nuclear program, with assistance from Pakistan (which entered into a bilateral agreement with Iran in 1992), China (which did the same in 1990), and Russia (which did the same in 1992 and 1995), and from the A.Q. Khannetwork.[20] Iran “began pursuing an indigenous nuclear fuel cycle capability by developing a uranium mining infrastructure and experimenting with uranium conversion and enrichment”.[20] According to the nonpartisan Nuclear Threat Initiative, “U.S. intelligence agencieshave long suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for clandestine weapons development.”[20] Iran, in contrast, “has always insisted that its nuclear work is peaceful”.[21]

In August 2002, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, an Iranian dissident group, publicly revealed the existence of two undeclared nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water production facility and the Natanz enrichment facility.[20][22] In February 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami acknowledged the existence of the facilities and asserted that Iran had undertaken “small-scale enrichment experiments” to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear power plants.[20] In late February, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors visited Natanz.[22] In May 2003, Iran allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company, but refused to allow them to take samples, and an IAEA report the following month concluded that Iran had failed to meet its obligations under the previous agreement.[22]

In June 2003, Iran—faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN Security Council—entered into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the EU 3).[20][22] The United States refused to be involved in these negotiations.[22] In October 2003, the Tehran Declaration was reached between Iran and the EU 3; under this declaration Iran agreed to cooperate fully with the IAEA, sign the Additional Protocol, and temporarily suspend all uranium enrichment.[20][22] In September and October 2003, the IAEA conducted several facility inspections.[20] This was followed by the Paris Agreement in November 2004, in which Iran agreed to temporarily suspend enrichment and conversion activities, “including the manufacture, installation, testing, and operation of centrifuges, and committed to working with the EU-3 to find a mutually beneficial long-term diplomatic solution”.[20]

In August 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner, was elected president of Iran. He accused Iranian negotiators who had negotiated the Paris Accords of treason.[22][23] Over the next two months, the EU 3 agreement fell apart as talks over the EU 3’s proposed Long Term Agreement broke down; the Iranian government “felt that the proposal was heavy on demands, light on incentives, did not incorporate Iran’s proposals, and violated the Paris Agreement”.[20][22] Iran notified the IAEA that it would resume uranium conversion at Esfahan.[20][22]

In February 2006, Iran ended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and resumed enrichment at Natanz, prompting the IAEA Board of Governors to refer Iran to the UN Security Council.[20][22] After the vote, Iran announced it would resume enrichment of uranium.[22] In April 2006, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had nuclear technology, but stated that it was purely for power generation and not for producing weapons.[22] In June 2006, the EU 3 joined China, Russia, and the United States, to form the P5+1.[22] The following month, July 2006, the UN Security Council passed its first resolution demanding Iran stop uranium enrichment and processing.[22] Altogether, from 2006 to 2010, the UN Security Council subsequently adopted six resolutions concerning Iran’s nuclear program: 1696 (July 2006), 1737 (December 2006), 1747 (March 2007), 1803 (March 2008), 1835 (September 2008), and 1929 (June 2010).[24] The legal authority for the IAEA Board of Governors referral and the Security Council resolutions was derived from the IAEA Statute and the United Nations Charter.[24] The resolutions demanded that Iran cease enrichment activities and imposed sanctions on Iran, including bans on the transfer of nuclear and missile technology to the country and freezes on the assets of certain Iranian individuals and entities, in order to pressure the country.[20][22] However, in Resolution 1803 and elsewhere the Security Council also acknowledged Iran’s rights under Article IV of the NPT, which provides for “the inalienable right … to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes”.[24][b]

In July 2006, Iran opened the Arak heavy water production plant, which led to one of the Security Council resolutions.[20] In September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama, revealed the existence of an underground enrichment facility in Fordow, near Qom saying, “Iran’s decision to build yet another nuclear facility without notifying the IAEA represents a direct challenge to the basic compact at the center of the non-proliferation regime.”[30] Israel threatened to take military action against Iran.[22]

In a February 2007 interview with the Financial Times, IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei said that military action against Iran “would be catastrophic, counterproductive” and called for negotiations between the international community and Iran over the Iranian nuclear program.[31] ElBaradei specifically proposed a “double, simultaneous suspension, a time out” as “a confidence-building measure”, under which the international sanctions would be suspended and Iran would suspend enrichment.[31] ElBaradei also said, “if I look at it from a weapons perspective there are much more important issues to me than the suspension of [enrichment],” naming his top priorities as preventing Iran from “go[ing] to industrial capacity until the issues are settled”; building confidence, with “full inspection” involving Iranian adoption of the Additional Protocol; and “at all costs” preventing Iran from “moving out of the [treaty-based non-proliferation] system”.[31]

A November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate assessed that Iran “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003; that estimate and subsequent U.S. Intelligence Community statements also assessed that the Iranian government at the time had was “keeping open the ‘option’ to develop nuclear weapons” in the future.[32] A July 2015 Congressional Research Service report said, “statements from the U.S. intelligence community indicate that Iran has the technological and industrial capacity to produce nuclear weapons at some point, but the U.S. government assesses that Tehran has not mastered all of the necessary technologies for building a nuclear weapon.”[32]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerryshakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif after the P5+1 and Iran concluded negotiations about Iran’s nuclear capabilities on November 24, 2013

In March 2013, the United States began a series of secret bilateral talks with Iranian officials in Oman, led by William Joseph Burns and Jake Sullivan on the American side and Ali Asghar Khaji on the Iranian side.[22][33] In June 2013, Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran.[22][34] Rouhani has been described as “more moderate, pragmatic and willing to negotiate than Ahmadinejad”. However, in a 2006 nuclear negotiation with European powers, Rouhani said that Iran had used the negotiations to dupe the Europeans, saying that during the negotiations, Iran managed to master the conversion of uranium yellowcake at Isfahan. The conversion of yellowcake is an important step in the nuclear fuel process.[35] In August 2013, three days after his inauguration, Rouhani called for a resumption of serious negotiations with the P5+1 on the Iranian nuclear program.[36] In September 2013, Obama and Rouhani had a telephone conversation, the first high-level contact between U.S. and Iranian leaders since 1979, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had a meeting with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, signaling that the two countries had an opening to cooperation.[22][36] Former officials alleged that, in order to advance the deal, the Obama administration shielded Hezbollah from the Drug Enforcement Administration‘s Project Cassandrainvestigation regarding drug smuggling and from the Central Intelligence Agency.[37][38] As a result of the Politico report, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations.[39]

After several rounds of negotiations, on 24 November 2013, the Joint Plan of Action, an interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland. It consisted of a short-term freeze of portions of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement.[40] The IAEA began “more intrusive and frequent inspections” under this interim agreement.[36] The agreement was formally activated on 20 January 2014.[41] On that day, the IAEA issued a report stating that Iran was adhering to the terms of the interim agreement, including stopping enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, beginning the dilution process (to reduce half of the stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to 3.5 percent), and halting work on the Arak heavy-water reactor.[36][41]

A major focus on the negotiations was limitations on Iran’s key nuclear facilities: the ArakIR-40heavy water reactor and production plant (which was under construction, but never became operational, as Iran agreed as part of the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action (interim agreement) not to commission or fuel the reactor); the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; the Gachin uranium mine; the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant; the Isfahan uranium-conversion plant; the Natanz uranium enrichment plant; and the Parchin military research and development complex.[42]

Negotiations

Foreign Ministers from the P5+1 nations, the European Union, and Iran in Vienna, Austria, on November 24, 2014

The agreement between the P5+1+EU and Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the culmination of 20 months of “arduous” negotiations.[43][44]

The agreement followed the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), an interim agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran that was agreed to on 24 November 2013 at Geneva. The Geneva agreement was an interim deal,[45] in which Iran agreed to roll back parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from some sanctions. This went into effect on 20 January 2014.[46] The parties agreed to extend their talks with a first extension deadline on 24 November 2014[47] and a second extension deadline set to 1 July 2015.[48]

An Iran nuclear deal framework was reached on 2 April 2015. Under this framework Iran agreed tentatively to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, all of which would last for at least a decade and some longer, and to submit to an increased intensity of international inspections under a framework deal. These details were to be negotiated by the end of June 2015. The negotiations toward a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action were extended several times until the final agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finally reached on 14 July 2015.[49][50] The JCPOA is based on the framework agreement from three months earlier.

Subsequently the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continued. In April 2015, a framework deal was reached at Lausanne. Intense marathon negotiations then continued, with the last session in Vienna at the Palais Coburglasting for seventeen days.[51] At several points, negotiations appeared to be at risk of breaking down, but negotiators managed to come to agreement.[51] As the negotiators neared a deal, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry directly asked Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to confirm that he was “authorized to actually make a deal, not just by the [Iranian] president, but by the supreme leader?”[51] Zarif gave assurances that he was.[51]

Ultimately, on 14 July 2015, all parties agreed to a landmark comprehensive nuclear agreement.[52] At the time of the announcement, shortly before 11:00 GMT, the agreement was released to the public.[53]

The final agreement’s complexity shows the impact of a public letter written by a bipartisan group of 19 U.S. diplomats, experts, and others in June 2015, written when negotiations were still going on.[54][55] That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win their support for it.[54] After the final agreement was reached, one of the signatories, Robert J. Einhorn, a former U.S. Department of State official now at the Brookings Institution, said of the agreement: “Analysts will be pleasantly surprised. The more things are agreed to, the less opportunity there is for implementation difficulties later on.”[54]

The final agreement is based upon (and buttresses) “the rules-based nonproliferation regime created by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and including especially the IAEA safeguards system”.[56]

Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document. The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi].”[57]

Signatories

Summary of provisions

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) runs to 109 pages, including five annexes.[44] Major provisions of the final accord include the following:[44][58][59]

Nuclear

JCPOA summary of enrichment-related provisions
(sources: The Economist[60]Belfer Center[61]:29)
Capability Before JCPOA After JCPOA
(for 10-year period)
After 15 years
First-generation
centrifuges installed
19,138 capped at 6,104 Unconstrained
Advanced centrifuges installed 1,008 0 Unconstrained
Centrifuge R&D Unconstrained Constrained Unconstrained
Stockpile of
low-enriched uranium
7,154 kg 300 kg Unconstrained
Stockpile of
medium-enriched uranium
196 kg 0 kg Unconstrained
  • Iran’s current stockpile of low-enriched uranium will be reduced by 98 percent, from 10,000 kg to 300 kg. This reduction will be maintained for fifteen years.[44][62][63][64] For the same fifteen-year period, Iran will be limited to enriching uranium to 3.67%, a percentage sufficient for civilian nuclear power and research, but not for building a nuclear weapon.[62][63][65] However, the number of centrifuges is sufficient for a nuclear weapon, but not for nuclear power.[66] This is a “major decline” in Iran’s previous nuclear activity; prior to watering down its stockpile pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action interim agreement, Iran had enriched uranium to near 20% (medium-enriched uranium).[62][63][64] These enriched uranium in excess of 300 kg of up to 3.67% will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold in return for natural uranium, and the uranium enriched to between 5% and 20% will be fabricated into fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor or sold or diluted to an enrichment level of 3.67%. The implementation of the commercial contracts will be facilitated by P5+1. After fifteen years, all physical limits on enrichment will be removed, including limits on the type and number of centrifuges, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, and where Iran may have enrichment facilities. According to Belfer, at this point Iran could “expand its nuclear program to create more practical overt and covert nuclear weapons options”.[61][67]
  • For ten years, Iran will place over two-thirds of its centrifuges in storage, from its current stockpile of 19,000 centrifuges (of which 10,000 were operational) to no more than 6,104 operational centrifuges, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium,[44][62] with the enrichment capacity being limited to the Natanz plant. The centrifuges there must be IR-1 centrifuges, the first-generation centrifuge type which is Iran’s oldest and least efficient; Iran will give up its advanced IR-2M centrifuges in this period.[42][63][64] The non-operating centrifuges will be stored in Natanz and monitored by IAEA, but may be used to replace failed centrifuges.[68][69] Iran will not build any new uranium-enrichment facilities for fifteen years.[62]
  • Iran may continue research and development work on enrichment, but that work will take place only at the Natanz facility and include certain limitations for the first eight years.[42] This is intended to keep the country to a breakout time of one year.[62]
  • Iran, with cooperation from the “Working Group” (the P5+1 and possibly other countries), will modernise and rebuild the Arak heavy water research reactor based on an agreed design to support its peaceful nuclear research and production needs and purposes, but in such a way to minimise the production of plutonium and not to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The power of the redesigned reactor will not exceed 20 MWth. The P5+1 parties will support and facilitate the timely and safe construction of the Arak complex.[70] All spent fuel will be sent out of the country.[42] All excess heavy water which is beyond Iran’s needs for the redesigned reactor will be made available for export to the international market based on international prices. In exchange, Iran received 130 tons of uranium in 2015 and in late 2016 was approved to receive 130 tons in 2017.[71] For 15 years, Iran will not engage in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing.[72] Iran will also not build any additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate heavy water for fifteen years.[42]
  • Iran’s Fordow facility will stop enriching uranium and researching uranium enrichment for at least fifteen years; the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center. For 15 years, Fordow will maintain no more than 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades in one wing of Fordow. “Two of those six cascades will spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification,” for stable radioisotope production for medical, agricultural, industrial, and scientific use. “The other four cascades with all associated infrastructure will remain idle.” Iran will not be permitted to have any fissile material in Fordow.[42][62][64]
  • Iran will implement an Additional Protocol agreement which will continue in perpetuity for as long as Iran remains a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The signing of the Additional Protocol represents a continuation of the monitoring and verification provisions “long after the comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 and Iran is implemented”.[73]
  • A comprehensive inspections regime will be implemented in order to monitor and confirm that Iran is complying with its obligations and is not diverting any fissile material.[62][63][c]
    • The IAEA will have multilayered[84] oversight “over Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, from uranium mills to its procurement of nuclear-related technologies“.[85] For declared nuclear sites such as Fordow and Natanz, the IAEA will have “round-the-clock access” to nuclear facilities and will be entitled to maintain continuous monitoring (including via surveillance equipment) at such sites.[85][86] The agreement authorizes the IAEA to make use of sophisticated monitoring technology, such as fiber-optic seals on equipment that can electronically send information to the IAEA; infrared satellite imagery to detect covert sites, “environmental sensors that can detect minute signs of nuclear particles”; tamper-resistant, radiation-resistant cameras.[54][87] Other tools include computerized accounting programs to gather information and detect anomalies, and big data sets on Iranian imports, to monitor dual-use items.[84]
    • The number of IAEA inspectors assigned to Iran will triple, from 50 to 150 inspectors.[54]
    • If IAEA inspectors have concerns that Iran is developing nuclear capabilities at any non-declared sites, they may request access “to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with” the agreement, informing Iran of the basis for their concerns.[86] The inspectors would only come from countries with which Iran has diplomatic relations.[88] Iran may admit the inspectors to such site or propose alternatives to inspection that might satisfy the IAEA’s concerns.[86] If such an agreement cannot be reached, a process running to a maximum of 24 days is triggered.[86] Under this process, Iran and the IAEA have 14 days to resolve disagreements among themselves.[86] If they fail to, the Joint Commission (including all eight parties) would have one week in which to consider the intelligence which initiated the IAEA request. A majority of the Commission (at least five of the eight members) could then inform Iran of the action that it would be required to take within three more days.[89][90] The majority rule provision “means the United States and its European allies—Britain, France, Germany and the EU—could insist on access or any other steps and that Iran, Russia or China could not veto them”.[89] If Iran did not comply with the decision within three days, sanctions would be automatically reimposed under the snapback provision (see below).[90]

As a result of the above, the “breakout time”—the time in which it would be possible for Iran to make enough material for a single nuclear weapon—will increase from two to three months to one year, according to U.S. officials and U.S. intelligence.[44][62][91][d] An August 2015 report published by a group of experts at Harvard University‘s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs concurs in these estimates, writing that under the JCPOA, “over the next decade would be extended to roughly a year, from the current estimated breakout time of 2 to 3 months”.[61] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation also accepts these estimates.[93][94] By contrast, Alan J. Kuperman, coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project at the University of Texas at Austin, disputed the one-year assessment, arguing that under the agreement, Iran’s breakout time “would be only about three months, not much longer than it is today”.[95]

The longer breakout time would be in place for at least ten years; after that point, the breakout time would gradually decrease.[44][91] By the fifteenth year, U.S. officials state that the breakout time would return to the pre-JCPOA status quo of a few months.[44][91] The Belfer Center report states: “Some contributors to this report believe that breakout time by year 15 could be comparable to what it is today—a few months—while others believe it could be reduced to a few weeks.”[61]

Exemptions

Reuters reported that exemptions were granted to Iran prior to 16 January 2016. The reported purpose of the exemptions was so that sanctions relief and other benefits could start by that date, instead of Iran being in violation. The exemptions included: (a) Iran able to exceed the 300 Kg of 3.5% LEU limit in the agreement; (b) Iran able to exceed the zero Kg of 20% LEU limit in the agreement; (c) Iran to keep operating 19 “hot cells” that exceed the size limit in the agreement; (d) Iran to maintain control of 50 tonnes of heavy water that exceed the 130 tonne limit in the agreement by storing the excess at an Iran-controlled facility in Oman.[96] In December 2016, the IAEA published decisions of the Joint Commission that spell out these clarifications of the JCPOA.[97]

Sanctions

The following provisions regarding sanctions are written into the JCPOA:

  • Following the issuance of a IAEA report verifying implementation by Iran of the nuclear-related measures, the UN sanctions against Iran and some EU sanctions will terminate and some will be suspended. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.[98]
    • Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.[99]
  • The United States will “cease” application of its nuclear-related secondary sanctions[100] by presidential action or executive waiver.[101]Secondary sanctions are those that sanction other countries for doing business with Iran. Primary U.S. sanctions, which prohibit U.S. firms from conducting commercial transactions with few exceptions, are not altered by the JCPOA.[102]
    • This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur “roughly in the first half of 2016”.[100][103][104]
    • Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.[44][105]
    • However, all U.S. sanctions against Iran related to alleged human rights abuses, missiles, and support for terrorism are not affected by the agreement and will remain in place.[64][106] U.S. sanctions are viewed as more stringent, since many have extraterritorial effect (i.e., they apply worldwide). EU sanctions, by contrast, apply only in Europe.[99]
  • No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.[107]
  • If Iran violates the agreement, any of the P5+1 can invoke a “snap back” provision, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are reimplemented).[62][63][107]
    • Specifically, the JCPOA establishes the following dispute resolution process: if a party to the JCPOA has reason to believe that another party is not upholding its commitments under the agreement, then the complaining party may refer its complaint to the Joint Commission, a body created under the JCPOA to monitor implementation.[64][108] If a complaint made by a non-Iran party is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complaining party within thirty-five days of referral, then that party could treat the unresolved issue as grounds to cease performing its commitments under the JCPOA, notify the United Nations Security Council that it believes the issue constitutes significant non-performance, or both.[108] The Security Council would then have thirty days to adopt a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions. If such a resolution is not adopted within those thirty days, then the sanctions of all of the pre-JCPOA nuclear-related UN Security Council resolutions would automatically be re-imposed. Iran has stated that in such a case, it would cease performing its nuclear obligations under the deal.[53][108] The effect of this rule is that any permanent member of the Security Council (United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France) can veto any ongoing sanctions relief, but no member can veto the re-imposition of sanctions.
    • Snapback sanctions “would not apply with retroactive effect to contracts signed between any party and Iran or Iranian individuals and entities prior to the date of application, provided that the activities contemplated under and execution of such contracts are consistent with this JCPOA and the previous and current UN Security Council resolutions”.[68]

Ankit Panda of The Diplomat states that this will make impossible any scenario where Iran is non-compliant with the JCPOA yet escapes re-imposition of sanctions.[108] Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (which opposes the agreement) argues, however, that because the JCPOA provides that Iran could treat reinstatement of sanctions (in part or entirely) as grounds for leaving the agreement, the United States would be reluctant to impose a “snapback” for smaller violations: “The only thing you’ll take to the Security Council are massive Iranian violations, because you’re certainly not going to risk the Iranians walking away from the deal and engaging in nuclear escalation over smaller violations.”[109]

Records

According to several commentators, JCPOA is the first of its kind in the annals of non-proliferation and is in many aspects unique.[110][111][112][113][114] The 159-page JCPOA document and its five appendices, is the most spacious text of a multinational treaty since World War II, according to BBC Persian.[115]

This is the first time that the United Nations Security Council has recognized the nuclear enrichment program of a developing country[115][116] and backs an agreement signed by several countries within the framework of a resolution (United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231).[115][117] For the first time in the history of the United Nations, a country—Iran—was able to abolish 6 UN resolutions against it—169617371747180318351929—without even one day of implementing them.[115]Sanctions against Iran was also lifted for the first time.[115]

Throughout the history of international law, this is the first and only time that a country subject to Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter has managed to end its case and stop being subject to this chapter through diplomacy.[115][118][119] All other cases have ended through either regime changewar or full implementation of the Security Council’s decisions by the country.[120]

Gary Sick states that during the history of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), no country other than Iran has ever voluntarily agreed to put such extraordinary restrictions on its nuclear activities.[121]

During the final negotiations, U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry stayed in Vienna for 17 days, making him the top American official devoting time to a single international negotiation in more than four decades.[122]Mohammad Javad Zarif broke the record of an Iranian Foreign Minister being far from home with 18-days stay in Vienna,[115] and set the record of 106 days of negotiations in 687 days, a number higher than any other chief nuclear negotiator in 12 years.[123] The negotiations became the longest continuous negotiations with the presence of all foreign ministers of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[115]

Pictured here, Iranian Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of StateJohn Kerry shaking hands at the end of negotiations on 14 July 2015, Vienna. They shook hands on 26 September 2013 in the United Nations Headquartersfor the first time.[124]

The negotiations included ‘rare events’ in Iran–United States relations not only since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, but also in the history of the bilateral relations. The U.S. Secretary of State and Iranian Foreign Minister met on 18 different dates—sometimes multiple occasions a day—and in 11 different cities, unprecedented since the beginning of the relations.[125] On 27 April 2015, John Kerry visited the official residence of the Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations to meet his counterpart. The encounter was the first of its kind since the Iran hostage crisis.[125][126] On the sidelines of the 70th session of the United Nations General AssemblyU.S. PresidentBarack Obama shook hands with the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, marking the first such event in history. The event was also noted in form of diplomatic ranks, as a head of state shook hands with a minister.[127] Obama is reported to have said in the meeting: “Too much effort has been put into the JCPOA and we all should be diligent to implement it.”[128]

Reactions

Political and diplomatic reactions

There was a significant worldwide response following the announcement of the agreement; more than 90 countries endorsed the agreement,[129] as did many international organizations.

From countries that are parties to the JCPOA

  •  China
    • Foreign MinisterWang Yi said, “the most important achievement of the comprehensive agreement is that the international nuclear non-proliferation system is safeguarded. It can be said that China had played a unique and constructive role and thus is highly praised and affirmed by all parties. In the next step, there are still many matters to be attended to concerning the implementation of the agreement. China will continuously make new contribution [sic] to this end with a responsible attitude.”[130]
  •  European Union
  •  France
    • In a Bastille Day speech, PresidentFrancois Hollande praised the deal and called upon Iran to “show that it is ready to help us end” the Syrian civil war.[133] French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Le Monde that the pact was a “robust agreement” that would last at least a decade.[134] Both Hollande and Fabius pledged that France would be “extremely vigilant” in the implementation of the agreement.[133][134]
    • Fabius visited Iran on 29 July, telling reporters in Tehran, “this deal allows the relations between our countries to develop and allows us to renew cooperation.” His visit was controversial in Iran and met with public anger for several reasons.[135][136]
  •  Germany
    • ChancellorAngela Merkel said that the agreement was “an important success” of international diplomacy.[137]
    • Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that the agreement was a “historic breakthrough”.[138] In mid-July 2015, Gabriel, along with a delegation of German industry and science representatives, completed a three-day visit to Iran focused on bolstering German-Iranian trade.[138] Gabriel said there was “great interest on the part of German industry in normalizing and strengthening economic relations with Iran”.[138]
  •  Iran
    • Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei who initially issued a letter of guidelines to President Rouhani, ordering him on how to proceed with the deal,[139][140] threatened to ‘set fire’ to nuclear deal if West violates.[141]PresidentHassan Rouhani said the final agreement proved that “constructive engagement works” and presented the deal as a step on the road towards a wider goal of international cooperation: “With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.”[131]
    • Minister of Foreign AffairsMohammad Javad Zarif called it an “historic moment” and said: “Today could have been the end of hope on this issue, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope. Let’s build on that.”[142]
    • In a 21 July speech to the Iranian Parliament, Zarif said that the agreement was a defeat for Israel, saying, “Never before was the Zionist regime so isolated, even among her own allies.”[143] On 12 August, after a meeting with Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Zarif said that the agreement “created a historic opportunity to [sic] for regional cooperation to fight extremism and face threats posed by the Zionist entity”.[144]
    • Many Iranian families and youth celebrated at Vanak Square and elsewhere on the streets of Tehran on the evening of the agreement’s announcements.[145] Some held signs calling for the release of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hussein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest.[145] Other ordinary Iranians cheered the announcement on social media.[145]
    • On 16 July 2015, two days after the agreement was signed, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made his first public comments on the final agreement in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani posted on Khamenei’s website.[146] Khamenei wrote, “bringing the negotiations to a conclusion was a milestone” but, “the prepared text, however, needs careful scrutiny”.[146] Iranian hard-liners took the letter as a signal of openness to criticize the deal.[146][147] In a speech in Tehran marking the end of Ramadan made two days later, Khamenei said, “Our policies toward the arrogant government of the United States will not be changed at all,”[148] adding, “the Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon … They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa, declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.”[149] However, Khamenei also praised the negotiators who arranged the deal, which was taken as a symbol that he would not seek to block the deal in the Iranian parliament or the Supreme National Security Council.[148] Khamenei also expressed support for the agreement, saying: “After 12 years of struggling with the Islamic republic, the result is that they [the P5+1 nations] have to bear the turning of thousands of centrifuges in the country.”[150] Khamenei is believed to have approved the negotiations and the agreement, giving Rouhani crucial political cover to do so.[151]
    • The New York Times reported, “Iran’s influential hard-liners, who have criticized Mr. Rouhani in much the same way that President Obama has been denounced by Republicans in the United States, signaled their intent to undercut the agreement,” which they believe to be too favorable to the West.[145] Foad Izadi, a professor at the University of Tehran, complained that of the 19 Iranian “major red lines” identified by the supreme leader during negotiations, “18 and a half have been crossed.”[147] Conservative lawmaker Alireza Zakani said “celebrating too early can send a bad signal to the enemy.”[131]
    • Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency stressed that under the agreement “world powers have recognized Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and are to respect the nuclear rights of (Iran) within international conventions.”[152] The IRNA report also said, “The policy on preventing enrichment uranium is now failed” and stressed, “no Iranian nuclear facilities or centrifuges will be dismantled.”[152]
  •  Russian Federation
  •  United Kingdom
    • Prime Minister David Cameron applauded the agreement, saying that it would help “make our world a safer place” and that Iran now had a “real opportunity” to benefit economically.[137]
    • Foreign SecretaryPhilip Hammond criticized the Israeli government’s position on the JCPOA, saying in the House of Commons, “no agreement with Iran would have been enough for Netanyahu” and “Israel prefers a permanent state of standoff” with Iran.[155][156]At a joint press conference the next day in Jerusalem, Hammond and Netanyahu “sparred publicly” over the agreement, “veering off prepared comments … in an awkward back-and-forth that extended what is usually a standard, brief public appearance with visiting officials into a spirited debate”.[156]
  •  United States
    • President Barack Obama addressed the nation in a 7 a.m. televised address from the White House, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side.[157][158] Obama stated that the agreement “meets every single one of the bottom lines we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring. Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off. And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place.”[158] The president emphasized that the agreement is “not built on trust—it is built on verification”.[44][158] Obama vowed to veto any congressional action that would block the agreement’s implementation, saying: “I am confident that this deal will meet the national security needs of the United States and our allies, so I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal. We do not have to accept an inevitable spiral into conflict, and we certainly shouldn’t seek it.”[158] Obama stated: “I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement” and added, “This is not the time for politics or posturing. Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems. Hard-nosed diplomacy, leadership that has united the world’s major powers, offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.”[158]
    • At a press briefing in Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry said that the agreement was “a measureable step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation” and “the specter of conflict” and “there can be no question that this agreement will provide a stronger, more comprehensive, and more lasting means of limiting Iran’s nuclear program than any realistic alternative.”[65] Kerry also stated, “The deal we have reached … gives us the greatest assurance that we have had that Iran will not pursue a weapon covertly.”[65]Addressing critics of the agreement, Kerry stated, “those who spend a lot of time suggesting that something could be better have an obligation to provide an alternative that, in fact, works” and “sanctioning Iran until it capitulates makes for a powerful talking point and a pretty good political speech, but it’s not achievable outside a world of fantasy.”[65] Kerry also stated, “we are under no illusions that the hard work is over. No one is standing here today to say that the path ahead is easy or automatic. We move now to a new phase—a phase that is equally critical and may prove to be just as difficult—and that is implementation.”[65]
    • Republicans lined up against the deal.[131] The candidates for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 uniformly condemned the deal; for example, Jeb Bush called the agreement “dangerous, deeply flawed, and short sighted” while Lindsey Grahamasserted that the deal was a “death sentence for the state of Israel”.[159][160][161] Former Obama advisor Daniel Pfeiffer tweeted, “none of these GOP contenders would end this Iran Deal if they got to the White House,” and that it would “massively damage US in the world”.[154]
    • Candidates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 welcomed the deal. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the agreement an “important step that puts the lid on Iran’s nuclear programs”; Senator Bernie Sanders called it “a victory for diplomacy over saber-rattling” that “could keep the United States from being drawn into another never-ending war in the Middle East”.[161]
    • Speaker of the HouseJohn Boehner, a Republican, called the JCPOA a “bad deal”.[162]
    • House Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said “I’ve closely examined this document. And it will have my strong support.”[163] Pelosi said that the agreement was “the product of years of tough, bold, clear-eyed leadership on the part of President Obama” and called it “a strong, effective option, for keeping the peace and stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”.[163]
    • Senate Majority LeaderMitch McConnell, a Republican, opposed the agreement, saying “The comprehensive nuclear agreement announced today appears to further the flawed elements of April’s interim agreement because the Obama Administration approached these talks from a flawed perspective: reaching the best deal acceptable to Iran, rather than actually advancing our national goal of ending Iran’s nuclear program.”[164]
    • Senate Minority LeaderHarry Reid, a Democrat, issued a brief statement on 14 July saying that the agreement was the result of years of hard work and, “now it is incumbent on Congress to review this agreement with the thoughtful, level-headed process an agreement of this magnitude deserves.”[165] On 23 August, Reid endorsed the agreement, saying that the agreement “is the best path to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon” and that he would “do everything in my power to ensure that it stands”.[166]
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, a Republican, pledged to hold hearings on the deal during the sixty-day congressional review period and said that he is “totally opposed to” the agreement.[167]Senate Foreign Relations Committeechairman Bob Corker, another Republican, also opposed the deal, saying that he believed that the West had conceded too much.[168]
    • The New York Times editorial board wrote that the agreement “is potentially one of the most consequential accords in recent diplomatic history, with the ability not just to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon but also to reshape Middle East politics”. They wrote: “It would be irresponsible to squander this chance to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.”[169]
    • On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump called the agreement “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made”[170] and announced the United States of America would withdraw from the agreement.[171]

From other countries

  •  Holy See
    • The Vatican applauded the deal, saying in a statement: “The agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See.”[172]
  •  Israel
    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction, we will always defend ourselves.”[173] Netanyahu called the deal a “capitulation” and “a bad mistake of historic proportions”.[174]Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the deal an “historic surrender” and said that Israel would “act with all means to try and stop the agreement being ratified”—indicating that it would try to use its influence to block the agreement in the U.S. Congress,[131]Naftali Bennett, leader of the Bayit Yehudi party (which is a member of the government coalition), said: “The history books have been rewritten again today, and this period will be deemed particularly grave and dangerous.”[174]
    • Most Israelis were similarly critical of the agreement.[175] Netanyahu’s leading political opponent, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, opposed the deal, stating that it “will unleash a lion from the cage” and make Iran “a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so”;[176]another Zionist Union member of the KnessetShelly Yachimovich, called the JCPOA a “dangerous, damaging agreement”[174]Yair Lapid, head of the opposition Yesh Atid party, called the agreement “Israel’s biggest foreign policy failure since the establishment of the state”.[177] At the same time, many of these figures also criticized Netanyahu’s diplomatic campaign against the plan, calling it ineffectual and counter-productive. Yachimovich said that Netanyahu should “immediately cease and desist from confronting the Americans”.[174] Lapid called on the prime minister to resign,[174] stating: “I also am not thrilled by Obama’s policies. But Netanyahu crossed a line that caused the White House to stop listening to Israel. In the last year we weren’t even in the arena, we had no representative in Vienna, our intelligence cooperation was harmed, and the door to the White House was closed to us.”[174]
    • The head of the opposition Yisrael Beiteinu party, Avigdor Lieberman, described the agreement as a “surrender to terror”.[174]
    • Zehava Gal-On, head of the opposition Meretz party, voiced cautious support for the JCPOA, writing, “The agreement is not perfect, it does not turn Iran into lovers of Israel all of the sudden, but it does aim to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb, regulate the international mechanisms to monitoring it and allows the international community to act if the agreement is violated.”[178]
    • The Joint (Arab) List party of Arab Israeli MKs welcomed the agreement.[178]
    • Ami Ayalon, former head of the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet and former commander of the Israeli Navy, said that the agreement was “the best option” for Israel, saying, “When negotiations began, Iran was two months away from acquiring enough material for a [nuclear] bomb. Now it will be 12 months.”[179] Ayalon said that opposition to the deal in Israel was “more emotional than logical”.[179][180]Efraim Halevy, the director of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad from 1998 to 2002, wrote in support of the agreement in Yedioth Ahronoth, arguing that the JCPOA includes “components that are crucial for Israel’s security” and warning that a collapse of the agreement will leave Iran “free to do as it pleases”.[180] Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and current senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times arguing that the JCPOA is “a good deal for Israel” and that by avoiding the threat of a nuclear Iran, the agreement “will enable Israel to divert precious resources to more immediate threats” and to pressing domestic needs.[181]
  •  Italy
    • Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “The agreement sows new hope for a regional peace project. Italy will actively support this process, and will ensure that it can benefit all countries of the region, without exception, with the aim of reaching a Middle East finally stable, where all peoples can live in peace and security.”[182]
  •  Kazakhstan
    • Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev welcomed the progress in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan on the regulation of the situation around Iran’s nuclear programme.[183]
    • President Nazarbayev said, “… in 2013 Almaty hosted two rounds of talks on Iran’s nuclear program, which contributed to the resumption of negotiations between “P5+1″ and Iran. We are proud that the results of those two rounds of talks in Almaty have served as foundation for JCPOA adopted two years later.”[183]
  • Arab states of the Persian Gulf
    •  Kuwait: Sabah bin Ahmad Al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, congratulated all the nations involved in the negotiations and hoped the deal would lead to stability in the region.[184]
    •  Oman: Oman welcomed the agreement.[185] Oman and its leader, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, were praised for its key role in the talks by diplomats and leaders from both Iran and the P5+1.[185] Oman has good relations with both Iran and the United States and played a key role in the beginning of the talks; Oman offered to establish a back channel between Iran and the United States in 2009, and the first secret talks were held between U.S. and Iranian diplomats in July 2012 in Muscat.[186][187]
    •  Qatar: The government welcomed the agreement as a “significant step” toward enhancing regional peace and stability.[188]
    •  Saudi Arabia: On 14 July, the official Saudi Press Agency released a statement attributed to an “official source” saying, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always believed in the importance of reaching a deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program that ensures preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and at the same time includes a specific, strict and permanent mechanism for inspecting all sites—including military ones—along with a mechanism for rapidly and effectively re-imposing sanctions in case Iran violates the deal.”[189] U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter said that Saudi Arabia approved of the international agreement, despite the fact that “the Saudis, along with other Sunni Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, view the predominantly Shiite Iran as a regional adversary.”[190] The Saudis have undertaken a military campaign in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents there.[190]
  • Elsewhere in the Muslim world
    •  Afghanistan: Afghan presidentMohammad Ashraf Ghani congratulated “the government and people of Islamic Republic of Iran on the occasion and reiterates that the government of Afghanistan welcomes any efforts that result in expansion of political and economic relations between states as well as consolidation and strengthening of peace and stability in the region.”[191]
    •  Egypt: The Egyptian foreign ministry said the deal will prevent an arms race in the Middle East. The statement expressed hopes that the Middle East can be free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.[192]
    •  Iraq: The Iraqi government applauded the agreement.[184]
    •  Pakistan: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs “welcomed” the agreement, saying, “reciprocal confidence-building measures … auger well for peace and security in our region.”[193] Former President Asif Ali Zardari welcomed the deal as “a triumph of diplomacy and negotiations over coercion and hostility” and called upon the government to push forward with plans for construction of an Iran–Pakistan gas pipeline.[194]
    •  Syria: President Bashar al-Assad, an Iranian ally, called the agreement as “a great victory” and wrote in a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader, that the agreement would be a “major turning point in the history of Iran, the region and the world”.[195]
    •  Turkey: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement in a statement saying that its implementation would contribute to regional peace, security and stability.[196] Observers noted that although Turkey would benefit economically from the lifting of sanctions in the future, Turkish officials seemed to be “uneasy” of the potential for Iran to reemerge as a regional power that might overshadow Turkey.[197]
  • Other countries
    •  Australia: Minister for Foreign AffairsJulie Bishop endorsed the agreement, saying: “What it has done is [bring] Iran into the international regime of inspections of nuclear programs, and that is a good thing. I think we have to give this comprehensive plan a chance.”[198]
    •  Canada: Foreign MinisterRob Nicholson stated at the time of the announcement: “We appreciate the efforts of the P5+1 to reach an agreement. At the same time, we will continue to judge Iran by its actions not its words. To this end, Canada will continue to support the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor Iran’s compliance with its commitments.”[199] The Globe and Mail reported at the time that Canada would keep its sanctions in place, at least initially, although Canada’s own sanctions will have little impact on the Iranian economy.[200] While the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper was opposed to the agreement, the new Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supported it, and in February 2016, following the implementation of the agreement, Canada lifted most of its sanctions on Iran.[201]
    •  Colombia: PresidentJuan Manuel Santos applauded the agreement as “another triumph of diplomacy over confrontation” and praised President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry for their “courage” in securing the deal.[202]
    •  India: The Indian embassy in Tehran stated, “India welcomes the announcement of lifting of nuclear-related sanctions against Iran. The milestone represents a significant success for patient diplomacy and signals a new chapter of peace and prosperity. India looks forward to further developing its longstanding, close, and mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Iran, including in the spheres of energy and regional connectivity.”[203]
    •  North Korea: The Foreign Ministry said that North Korea had no interest in a nuclear disarmament agreement, saying: “We do not have any interest at all on dialogue for unilaterally freezing or giving up our nukes.”[204]
    •  Norway: In a statement, Foreign MinisterBørge Brende said: “This historic agreement will benefit the international community, the Middle East and Iran. It will also pave the way for closer political and economic contact with Iran.”[205]
    •  Philippines: The Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed the agreement, saying that it was an important measure to promote both regional and global security. They also called on the international community to maintain the positive momentum for long-term peace created by the agreement.[206]

From international organizations

  •  United Nations
    • Secretary-General of the United NationsBan Ki-moon issued a statement saying: “I warmly welcome the historic agreement in Vienna today and congratulate the P5+1 and Iran for reaching this agreement. This is testament to the value of dialogue…. The United Nations stands ready to fully cooperate with the parties in the process of implementing this historic and important agreement.”[207][208]
    • International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – Director General Yukiya Amano welcomed the agreement and congratulated Iran, the P5+1 countries and the European Union and said he is confident that IAEA is capable of doing the necessary monitoring and verification activities when requested.[209]
  • Other international organizations and figures
    •  NATO Secretary GeneralJens Stoltenberg called the agreement a “historic breakthrough” and stated: “It is critical for Iran to implement the provisions of today’s agreement and to fulfill all its international obligations and advance security in the region and beyond.”[210]
    •  Arab League Secretary-GeneralNabil Elaraby said he hoped the JCPOA would bring “stability and security” to the Middle East.[211]
    •  Gulf Cooperation Council – The Gulf Cooperation Council publicly announced backing for the agreement at a 2 August 2015 summit in DohaQatar.[212]Khalid al-Attiyah, the foreign minister of Qatar (which currently chairs the GCC) said at a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry following the summit, “This was the best option amongst other options in order to try to come up with a solution for the nuclear weapons of Iran though dialogue, and this came up as a result of the efforts exerted by the United States of America and its allies. [Secretary Kerry] let us know that there’s going to be a kind of live oversight for Iran not to gain or to get any nuclear weapons. This is reassuring to the region.”[212]
    • Association of Southeast Asian Nations – On 6 August 2015, following the 5th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN nations, along with the foreign ministers of India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, endorsed the deal, welcoming it as an “important resolution” to a pressing global concern.[213][214] Shortly before the joint ASEAN statement was released, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Kuala Lumpur to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.[213]
    • Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, hailed the agreement as a triumph of diplomacy.[154]
    • The International Crisis Group called the deal “a triumph of nuclear diplomacy” and urged both the United States Congress and Iranian Majlis to approve it.[215]

Expert reactions

Following the unveiling of the agreement, “a general consensus quickly emerged” among nuclear experts and watchdogs that the agreement “is as close to a best-case situation as reality would allow”.[216] In August 2015, 75 arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts signed a statement endorsing the deal as “a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts” that exceeds the historical standards for arms control agreements.[217] The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invited top international security experts to comment on the final agreement.[218]

  • Jeffrey Lewis, arms control expert and director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, reviewed the final agreement and gave it a positive assessment, saying that he would give it an “A” grade.[219] While Lewis was skeptical about the chances of a workable deal emerging in 2014, during the negotiations, Lewis said that the final agreement was “a good deal because it slows down [the Iranian] nuclear program … And it puts monitoring and verification measures in place that mean if they try to build a bomb, we’re very likely to find out, and to do so with enough time that we have options to do something about it. There’s a verifiable gap between their bomb option and an actual bomb. That’s why it’s a good deal.”[219] Lewis said that the final agreement was very similar to the April 2015 framework agreement.[219] Lewis does not believe that the agreement will fundamentally alter the U.S.-Iranian relationship, seeing the agreement instead as “a really straightforward measure to slow down an enrichment program that was going gangbusters”.[219]
  • Lawrence Korb and Katherine Blakeley, senior fellow and policy analyst, respectively, at the Center for American Progress, wrote that the agreement was “one of the most comprehensive and detailed nuclear arms agreements ever reached”.[218] Korb and Blakeley wrote, “a good look at the three main legs of the agreement shows that this deal is, in fact, a good one, for the United States and for the international community.”[218] Korb and Blakey said that the agreement “precludes Iranian development of a nuclear weapon by shutting down all of the pathways Iran might use to accumulate enough nuclear material to make a weapon” and praised components of the agreement which keep Iran subject to the constraints of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, provides for robust IAEA monitoring and verification, and links the phased lifting of nuclear-related sanctions to IAEA verification of Iranian compliance.[218]
  • Frank von Hippel, senior research physicist and professor of public and international affairs emeritus at the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, wrote, “The July 14 agreement is a political miracle” in which “Iran has agreed to back away from the nuclear-weapon threshold in exchange for a lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.”[218] Von Hippel wrote, “The Obama administration argues—and I agree—that the ratcheting back of Iran’s enrichment capacity will give the world a much longer warning time should Iran attempt to build a bomb.”[218] Von Hippel suggested that once the first ten years of the agreement were complete, “One option that should be explored is multinational ownership and management of Iran’s enrichment complex by a group of countries—perhaps including the United States.”[218]
  • Frederick H. Fleitz, former CIA nonproliferation analyst and currently of the Center for Security Policy, wrote, “The provisions of this agreement… contains minor concessions by Iran but huge concessions by the United States that will Iran to continue its nuclear program with weak verification provisions. Conditions for sanctions relief will be very easy for Iran to meet. Iran will not only continue to enrich uranium under the agreement, it will continue to develop advanced centrifuges that will reduce the timeline to an Iranian nuclear bomb.”[220]
  • William H. Tobey, senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, was critical of the agreement, writing that given Iranian hostility to the United States and Israel, the agreement provides little “more than a speed bump on the path to Iran’s nuclear ambition”.[218] Tobey wrote that that “speed bump” is not “a good trade for at least $150 billion in sanctions relief”.[218]
  • Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said that although the JCPOA is “not perfect”, it “will be a net plus for nonproliferation and will enhance U.S. and regional security”.[218] Reif wrote that it was “clear that Tehran had to retreat from many of its initial demands, including in the areas of the scale of uranium enrichment it needed, the intrusiveness of inspections it would tolerate, and the pace of sanctions relief it would demand”.[218] Reif also wrote that the JCPOA “will keep Iran further away from the ability to make nuclear weapons for far longer than the alternative of additional sanctions or a military strike possibly could”, and as a result, the threat of regional proliferation throughout the Middle East was diminished.[218] Reif added: “A perfect deal was not attainable. Overall, it’s a very strong and good deal, but it wasn’t negotiations that resulted in a score of 100-0 for the [United States]. That’s not how international negotiations go…. The monitoring and verification regime in this deal is the most comprehensive and intrusive regime that has ever been negotiated.”[216]
  • Siegfried S. Hecker of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University wrote, “the Iran nuclear deal was hard-won and is better than any other reasonably achievable alternative.”[218] Hecker wrote, “Iran agreed to considerably greater restrictions on its program than what I thought was possible.”[218] Hecker’s view is that it is “imperative that the international community develops a credible and decisive response in the event of an Iranian violation of the agreement”.[218] He noted, “this agreement was one of the most technically informed diplomatic negotiations I have seen,” with both sides advised by “world-class nuclear scientists”: U.S. Secretary of State Kerry by U.S. Secretary of Energy Moniz, and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali-Akbar Salehi.[218]
  • Zia Mian of the Program on Science & Global Security at Princeton University wrote that the JCPOA offers three “important lessons for those wanting to make progress towards nuclear disarmament and a more peaceful world”.[218] The first lesson was, “nuclear diplomacy can work. But it requires hard political work of many kinds”; Mian praised both the “creative technical and policy analysis work from within and outside governments to create options for negotiators to find common ground” as well as “the patient grassroots work to engage and mobilize public constituencies that brought to power leaders in the United States and in Iran willing to engage with each other and to take risks for a more peaceful relationship between their countries”.[218] The second lesson was, “International nuclear politics is bound to domestic politics, for good and ill. The Iran agreement has come despite determined hostility from conservatives within the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Iran. Seeing the world as a hierarchy shaped by power and fear, and locked in rigid, exclusivist national or religious identities, they press for advantage and privilege or to maintain the status quo. Sharing a propensity for mistrust, coercion, and violence, they would risk war with those they see as enemies rather than try dialogue and possible agreement on a peaceful future based on the ideals of equity and respect for others. These opponents will derail the Iran deal if they can.”[218] The third lesson is, “nuclear disarmament issues do not exist in isolation”; Mian called for more foreign minister-level talks in the Middle East, rather than expanded U.S. military assistance in the region.[218]
  • Ernest MonizU.S. Secretary of Energy and a nuclear physicist and former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was a key member of the U.S. negotiating team, stated that the JCPOA helps put Iran further from a nuclear weapon not only in the first fifteen years, with “lots of very, very explicit constraints on the program that roll back current activities”, but also beyond that period, because the agreement commits Iran to join the Additional Protocol.[221][222] Former IAEA Deputy Director Olli Heinonen and former Iraq weapons inspector David Albright expressed concerns with the length of a review process for inspecting undeclared facilities, stating that a delay up to a maximum of 24 days was too long.[223] Heinonen said, “it is clear that a facility of sizable scale cannot simply be erased in three weeks’ time without leaving traces,” but said there was a risk that the Iranians could hide small-scale work, such as creating uranium components of a nuclear weapon, particularly because they have experience with cheating.[223] Albright said that activities on “a small scale”, such as experiments with high explosives or a small plant to make centrifuges operation could possibly be cleared out in 24 days.[223] Former U.S. State Department official Robert J. Einhorn, who took part in P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran from 2009 to 2013, said, “a limit shorter than 24 days would have been desirable,” but “it is probably the case that the greater the significance of a covert activity, the more difficult it will be to remove evidence of it in 24 days.”[223] U.S. Energy Department officials said that if the Iranians attempted to conduct centrifuge test, uranium conversion, or other activities, contamination would be generated that is very difficult to conceal.[223]
  • At a September 2015 panel discussion at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with Albert Carnesale (a former SALT I negotiator), Dalia Dassa Kaye (of the RAND Corporation), and Aslı Bâli and Steven Spiegel of UCLA, the panelists came a general consensus that the JCPOA “should be given a chance to work” and “despite its flaws, the agreement was worth pursuing and that the alternative would have been no agreement at all.”[224]
  • Henner Fürtig, a senior member of German Institute of Global and Area Studies and a professor at the University of Hamburg wrote that the accord contains multiple victories for all sides. It is a “triumph of international diplomacy” and “rarely reached consensus” for the United Nations and the UNSC, but “it is no panacea” resolving other conflicts in the Middle East.[225]

In popular culture

The American TV series Madam Secretary built a whole season around the negotiations.[226] Five years before the deal, in 24season 8, the negotiations between the United States leaders and “President Hassan” of Islamic republic of Kamistan to abandon his nuclear technology programme was shown, which drew comparison to the US-Iran dispute.[227] However the deal was contrarily to Homelandseason 3 plot that “fueled nuclear paranoia” against Iran.[228]

After the deal, a joke began circulating in Iran that the name of city of Arak would change to “Barack” in honor of Obama, and that in return, the United States would change the name of Manhattan borough to “Mash Hassan” (Persianمش حسن‎) which is a very casual way of referring to Rouhani.[229]

Javad Zarif‘s efforts in the negotiations drew comparisons to mythological Arash the Archer, and two former Prime Ministers: Mohammad Mosaddegh, who led the withdrawal of foreigners and nationalization of the Iran oil industry and was overthrown by American–British coup d’état, because both fought foreigners for Iran’s rights; and Amir Kabir, because both faced domestic hostility through their way to gain more interest for the nation.[230]

Public opinion surveys

United States (nationwide)

Public polling on the issue has yielded varied and sometimes contradictory results, depending on the question wording,[231] whether the poll explains the provisions of the agreement, and whether an “undecided” option is offered.[232] Polls have consistently shown polarization by party affiliation, with majorities of self-identified Democrats supporting the agreement and majorities of self-identified Republicans opposing it.[233][234][235][236]

Poll Sample Conducted Sample size
margin of error
Question(s) Asked Findings Reference
YouGov U.S. adults 14–16 July 1000; ±3.9% Support/oppose (major provisions described) 43% support, 30% oppose, 26% unsure [233][237]
Abt-SRBI for Washington Post/ABC News U.S. adults 16–19 July 1,002; ±3.5% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Confidence that agreement will prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons
56% support, 37% oppose, 7% no opinion
35% very/somewhat confident, 64% not confident
[238]
Pew Research Center U.S. adults 14–20 July 2,002; ±2.5; 1,672; ±2.7% Have you heard about agreement?
Support/oppose based on what you know (provisions not described)
34% heard a lot, 44% heard a little, 22% have not heard
(Among those who have heard at least a little) 48% disapprove, 38% approve, 14% do not know
[235]
Steven M. Cohen/Social Science Research Solutions for Los Angeles Jewish Journal U.S. adults 16–20 July 505 Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the deal?
28% support, 24% oppose, 48% don’t know enough to say
41% approve, 38% disapprove, 21% undecided.
[239][240][241]
Steven M. Cohen/Social Science Research Solutions for Los Angeles Jewish Journal Jewish American adults 16–20 July 501 Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress vote to approve or oppose the deal?
47.5% approve, 27.6% oppose, 24.6% don’t know enough to say
53.6% approve, 34.7% oppose, 11.7% don’t know
[239][240][242]
YouGov for The Economist U.S. adults 18–20 July 1000; ±4.3% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Do you want your Senators to support or oppose the international agreement?
15% strongly support, 26% tend to support; 16% tend to oppose; 17% strongly oppose; 16% not sure
45% support; 27% oppose; 27% not sure
[243]
Public Policy Polling U.S. registered voters 23–24 July 730; ±3.6% Support/oppose (major provisions described)
Should Congress allow agreement to go forward or block it?
35% strongly support; 19% somewhat support; 6% somewhat oppose; 32% strongly oppose; 8% not sure
54% go forward; 39% block; 7% not sure
[244]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 22–25 July 1,017; ±3% Should Congress approve or reject the deal? 44% approve; 52% reject; 5% no opinion [245]
Quinnipiac U.S. registered voters 23–28 July 1,644; ±2.4% Support/oppose (provisions not described) 28% support; 57% oppose; 15% don’t know/NA [246]
Public Opinion Strategies & Hart Research Associates for Wall Street Journal/NBC News U.S. adults 26–30 July 500 Support/oppose (major provisions described) 35% support, 33% oppose, 32% do not know enough [236][247][248]
Anderson Robbins Research & Shaw & Company Research for Fox News U.S. registered voters 11–13 August 1,008
±3%
In you were in Congress, would approve or reject the deal? 31% approve, 58% reject, 10% don’t know [249][250]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 13–16 August 500
±4.5%
Favor/oppose a hypothetical agreement (major provisions explained) 50% favor, 46% oppose, 4% no opinion [251]
ORC for CNN U.S. adults 13–16 August 500
±4.5%
Should Congress approve or reject the deal? (provisions not described) 41% approve, 56% reject, 2% no opinion [251]
Quinnipiac U.S. registered voters 20–25 August 1,563; ±2.5% Support/oppose (provisions not described) 25% support; 55% oppose; 20% don’t know/NA [252]
Pew Research Center U.S. adults 3–7 September 1,004; ±3.6% Approve/disapprove the agreement 21% approve; 49% disapprove; 30% don’t know/refused [253]
University of Maryland Program on Public Consultation/Center for International and Security Studies U.S. registered voters who took part in National Citizens Cabinet
(policymaking simulation involving a briefing and hearing of expert-vetted arguments from both sides of the debate)
17–20 September 702; ±3.7% Final recommendation after hearing alternatives 55% approve agreement; 14% pursue better terms; 23% ramp up sanctions; 7% threaten military force [254][255]

United States (specific communities)

  • According to a Zogby Research Services poll for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, conducted 20–31 May 2015, 64% of Iranian Americans support the Iran deal, and 8 in 10 say it will improve Iran’s relations with the West.[256]
  • A poll of American Jewish adults conducted by GBA Strategies for J Street (which supports the agreement) from 21–23 July found that 60 percent of American Jews support the agreement.[257] The poll found that: “There is broad support for the agreement, regardless of age, gender, region, Jewish organizational engagement, and awareness about the agreement.”[257] The poll found that support was strong across every denomination except for Orthodox Jews, with 67% of Reform Jews in support, 63% of Jews of no particular denomination in support, and 55% of Conservative Jews in support.[257]
  • According to a Quinnipiac poll taken 30 July – 4 August 43% of New York City voters oppose the agreement, while 36% support it; 42% said that the agreement would make the world less safe, while 40% said it will make the world more safe. Among Jewish voters in New York City, 33% support the agreement while 53% oppose it, and 51% say the agreement will make the world less safe, while 37% say that the agreement will make the world more safe.[258]
  • According to a Public Policy Polling poll of New York City voters taken 11–12 August, 58% of New York City voters support the Iran agreement, while 35% oppose it; 49% of New York City voters want their members of Congress to let the agreement go forward, while 33% want their members of Congress to block the agreement. The agreement achieved majority support from women and men; whites, African Americans, and Hispanics; and in every age group.[259]
  • GfK poll of American Jews conducted for the American Jewish Committee between 7 and 22 August found that American Jews narrowly favored the agreement with 50.6% approving and 47.2% disapproving.[260]

Iran

  • According to a poll conducted from 12–28 May 2015 by the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion Research, the independent, Toronto-based firm IranPoll, and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, 57% of Iranians support the deal, whereas 15% opposed it.[261]
  • According to First Vice PresidentEshaq Jahangiri‘s interview on 6 August 2015, an Iranian government poll indicates that 80%-88% of Iranians support the Iran deal, whereas 4% oppose it.[262]
  • A poll conducted 27 May to 29 May 2015, by private Virginia-based Information and Public Opinion Solutions LLC (iPOS), suggests that a 63% majority of Iranians favor a deal, with 12% conditional approval (they would support it only if certain advantages for Iran are contained within a final agreement). Answering “If Iran and the West reach a nuclear deal, do you agree or disagree (with) a normalization of relations between Iran and the US?”, 52% agreed and 20% disagreed. The poll was conducted by phone with a random sample of 680 Iranians 18-years-old and older.[263]

Germany

  • A July 2015 nationally representative survey of German adults conducted by YouGov Germany Omnibus found that overall, “63% of Germans support the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, while only 18% oppose it and 20% don’t know.”[233]

Process

Incorporated into international law by the United Nations Security Council

As provided for in the JCPOA, the agreement was formally endorsed by the UN Security Council,[264][265] incorporating it into international law.[266][267] There was initially disagreement on if the deal is legally binding on the United States.[e] The U.S. State Department clarified this in a 19 November 2015 letter to Congress, stating, “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is not a treaty or an executive agreement, and is not a signed document. The JCPOA reflects political commitments between Iran, the P5+1, and the EU.”[274] According to the State Department Political Commitments are non-binding.

On 15 July 2015, the American ambassador to the UNSamantha Power, circulated a fourteen-page draft to Council members.[265] On 20 July 2015, the Security Council unanimously approved the fourteen-page resolution—United Nations Security Council resolution2231[275]—in a 15–0 vote.[267] The resolution delays its official implementation for 90 days, to allow for U.S. Congressional consideration under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015.[266][267] The resolution lays out the steps for terminating sanctions imposed by seven past Security Council resolutions, but retains an arms embargo and ballistic missile technology ban.[264][267] The resolution also did not affect the sanctions imposed separately by the United States and the European Union.[267] The resolution also codifies the “snapback” mechanism of the agreement, under which all Security Council sanctions will be automatically reimposed if Iran breaches the deal.[264]

Speaking immediately after the vote, Power told the Security Council that sanctions relief would start only when Iran “verifiably” met its obligations. Power also called upon Iran “to immediately release all unjustly detained Americans”, specifically naming Amir HekmatiSaeed Abedini, and Jason Rezaian, were imprisoned by Iran was detained at the time, and Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in the country.[267][276] Hekmati, Abedini, and Rezaian were subsequently released in a January 2016 prisoner exchange, which Secretary of State Kerry said had been accelerated by the nuclear agreement.[277]

Approved by European Union

On the same day that the Security Council approved a resolution, the European Union formally approved the JCPOA via a vote of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (the group of EU foreign ministers) meeting in Brussels. This sets into motion the lifting of certain EU sanctions, including those prohibiting the purchase of Iranian oil.[267][278] The EU continues its sanctions relating to human rights and its sanctions prohibiting the export of ballistic missile technology.[267] The approval by the EU was seen as a signal to the U.S. Congress.[278]

Review period in the United States Congress

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew defending the JCPOA at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 23 July 2015

Under U.S. law, the JCPOA is a non-binding political commitment.[279][280] According to the U.S. State Department, it specifically is not an executive agreement or a treaty.[274] There are widespread incorrect reports that it is an executive agreement.[281][282] In contrast to treaties, which require two-thirds of the Senate to consent to ratification, political commitments require no congressional approval, and are not legally binding as a matter of domestic law (although in some cases they may be binding on the U.S. as a matter of international law).[281][f]

Under the terms of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which was signed into law on 22 May 2015,[g] the agreement is undergoing a sixty-day review in the United States Congress.[291] Under that Act, once all documents have been sent to the Capitol, Congress will have sixty days in which it can pass a resolution of approval, a resolution of disapproval, or do nothing.[291] The Act includes additional time beyond the sixty days for the president to veto a resolution and for Congress to take a vote on whether to override or sustain the veto.[292] President Obama has said he will veto any resolution of disapproval.[291] Thus, Republicans will only be able to defeat the deal if they can muster the two-thirds of both houses of Congress needed to override a veto of any resolution of disapproval.[291][293] This means that 34 votes in the Senate could sustain a veto and place the JCPOA into effect.[292][294]

On 19 July 2015, the State Department officially transmitted to Congress the JCPOA, its annexes, and related materials.[295] These documents included the Unclassified Verification Assessment Report on the JCPOA and the Intelligence Community‘s Classified Annex to the Verification Assessment Report.[295] The sixty-day review period began the next day, 20 July,[295][296] and ended 17 September.[297] On 30 July, Senator Ted Cruz introduced a resolution seeking a delay in the review period, arguing that the sixty-day congressional review under the Act should not begin until the Senate obtains a copy of all bilateral Iran-IAEA documents.[298][299]

Obama administration

The “international community” had long sought a landmark diplomatic agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, and such an agreement was also a long-sought foreign-policy goal of the Obama administration.[300][301][302]

In comments made in the East Room of the White House on 15 July 2015, President Obama urged Congress to support the agreement, saying “If we don’t choose wisely, I believe future generations will judge us harshly, for letting this moment slip away.”[303] Obama stated that the inspections regime in the agreement was among the most vigorous ever negotiated, and criticized opponents of the deal for failing to offer a viable alternative to it.[303] Obama stated: “If 99 percent of the world’s community and the majority of nuclear experts look at this thing and they say ‘this will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb,’ and you are arguing either that it does not … then you should have some alternative to present. And I haven’t heard that.”[304][305] The same day, Obama made a case for the deal on the agreement in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.[306] Obama stated:

With respect to Iran, it is a great civilization, but it also has an authoritarian theocracy in charge that is anti-American, anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic, sponsors terrorism, and there are a whole host of real profound differences that we [have with] them… [T]heir argument was, ‘We’re entitled to have a peaceful nuclear program.’… You know, I have a lot of differences with Ronald Reagan, but where I completely admire him was his recognition that [we] were able to verify an agreement that [was negotiated] with the evil empire [the Soviet Union] that was hellbent on our destruction and was a far greater existential threat to us than Iran will ever be… I had a lot of disagreements with Richard Nixon, but he understood there was the prospect, the possibility, that China could take a different path. You test these things, and as long as we are preserving our security capacity—as long as we are not giving away our ability to respond forcefully, militarily, where necessary to protect our friends and our allies—that is a risk we have to take. It is a practical, common-sense position. It’s not naïve; it’s a recognition that if we can in fact resolve some of these differences, without resort to force, that will be a lot better for us and the people of that region.[306]

Also on 15 July, Vice President Joe Biden met with Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, where he made a presentation on the agreement.[307]

On 18 July, Obama devoted his weekly radio address to the agreement, stating, “this deal will make America and the world safer and more secure” and rebutting “a lot of overheated and often dishonest arguments about it”.[308] Obama stated “as commander-in-chief, I make no apology for keeping this country safe and secure through the hard work of diplomacy over the easy rush to war.”[308] On 23 July, President Obama met in the White House Cabinet Room with about a dozen undecided House Democrats to speak about the agreement and seek their support.[309]

The debate over the agreement was marked by acrimony between the White House and with Republicans inside and outside of Congress. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said that under the agreement “the Obama administration will become the leading financier of terrorism against America in the world.”[310] Former Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, called the president “naive” and repeatedly invoked the Holocaust, saying that the president’s policy would “take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven”.[311] This comparison was denounced by the Anti-Defamation League, the National Jewish Democratic Council, and various Israeli government officials.[311][312][313] At a 27 June news conference, Obama specifically criticized Huckabee, Cruz, and Cotton, saying that such remarks were “just part of a general pattern we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad”, especially from “leaders in the Republican Party”.[310] Obama stated that “fling[ing] out ad hominem attacks like that … doesn’t help inform the American people” and stated: “This is a deal that has been endorsed by people like Brent Scowcroft and Sam Nunn … historic Democratic and Republican leaders on arms control and on keeping America safe. And so when you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it’s not the kind of leadership that is needed for America right now.”[314]

On 5 August, Obama gave a speech before an audience of around 200 at American University, marking a new phase in the administration’s campaign for the agreement.[315][316] Obama stated: “Let’s not mince words: The choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy and some form of war—maybe not tomorrow, maybe not three months from now, but soon. How can we in good conscience justify war before we’ve tested a diplomatic agreement that achieves our objectives?”[315] In his speech, Obama also invoked a speech made by John F. Kennedy at American University in 1963 in favor of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.[315] Obama also said that the opponents of the agreement were the same people who created the “drumbeat of war” that led to the Iraq War and criticized “knee-jerk partisanship that has become all too familiar, rhetoric that renders every decision made to be a disaster, a surrender”.[315]

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, a senior Democrat, made a different assessment of prospects for war by distinguishing between nuclear and non-nuclear aspects of the agreement. In each case he asked whether we are better off with the agreement or without it and his conclusion was: “… when it comes to the nuclear aspects of the agreement within ten years, we might be slightly better off with it. However, when it comes to the nuclear aspects after ten years and the non-nuclear aspects, we would be better off without it.” Then Schumer assessed the Iranian government, saying, “Who’s to say this dictatorship will not prevail for another ten, twenty, or thirty years? To me, the very real risk that Iran will not moderate and will, instead, use the agreement to pursue its nefarious goals is too great.” And, finally, Schumer concluded: “I will vote to disapprove the agreement, not because I believe war is a viable or desirable option, nor to challenge the path of diplomacy. It is because I believe Iran will not change, and under this agreement it will be able to achieve its dual goals of eliminating sanctions while ultimately retaining its nuclear and non-nuclear power.”[317]

In the same speech, Obama stated: “Just because Iranian hard-liners chant ‘Death to America‘ does not mean that that’s what all Iranians believe. In fact, it’s those hard-liners who are most comfortable with the status quo. It’s those hard-liners chanting ‘Death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal. They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus.”[316][318] This statement was criticized by congressional Republican leaders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “crass political rhetoric” that was a strategy to “Demonize your opponents, gin up the base, get the Democrats all angry, and rally around the president.” McConnell said “This is an enormous national security debate that the president will leave behind, under the Constitution, a year and a half from now, and the rest of us will be dealing with the consequences of it. So I wish he would tone down the rhetoric and let’s talk about the facts” and promised that Republicans would discuss the agreement respectfully in September.[319][320] Republican Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of Foreign Relations Committee, asserted that the president was “trying to shut down debate by saying that those who have legitimate questions, legitimate questions—are somehow unpatriotic, are somehow compared to hardliners in Iran”.[321] The president subsequently stood by his statement, with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest calling it a “statement of fact”[319] and the president saying in an interview, “Remember, what I said was that it’s the hard-liners in Iran who are most opposed to this deal. And I said, in that sense, they’re making common cause with those who are opposed to this deal here. I didn’t say that they were equivalent.”[318] In the same interview, Obama said: “A sizable proportion of the Republicans were opposed before the ink was even dry on the deal.”[318]

In comments made at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado in July 2015, Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper said that the JCPOA will improve the U.S. ability to monitor Iran, saying “[The agreement] puts us in a far better place in terms of insight and access” than no agreement.[322] While Clapper remains “concerned about compliance and deceit”, but “pointed out that during the negotiation period [Iran] complied with rules” negotiated under the interim agreement (the Joint Plan of Action).[322]

Public debate

An intense public debate in the United States took place during the congressional review period.[294] “Some of the wealthiest and most powerful donors in American politics, those for and against the accord”, became involved in the public debate,[323] although “mega-donors” opposing the agreement have contributed substantially more money than those supporting it.[324] From 2010 to early August 2015, the foundations of Sheldon AdelsonPaul Singer, and Haim Saban contributed a total of $13 million (at least $7.5 million, at least $2.6 million, and at least $2.9 million, respectively) to advocacy groups opposing an agreement with Iran.[324] On the other side, three groups lobbying in support of the agreement have received at least $803,000 from the Ploughshares Fund, at least $425,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and at least $68,500 from George Soros and his foundation.[324] Other philanthropists and donors supporting an agreement include S. Daniel AbrahamTim GillNorman LearMargery Tabankin, and Arnold Hiatt.[323]

Many Iranian Americans, even those who fled repression in Iran and oppose its government, welcomed the JCPOA as a step forward.[325] The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Iranian American Bar Association, and other Iranian American organizations welcomed the JCPOA.[326] The NIAC released a statement saying: “Our negotiators have done their job to win a strong nuclear deal that prevents an Iranian nuclear weapon, all the while avoiding a catastrophic war. Now is the time for Congress to do theirs. Make no mistake: if Congress rejects this good deal with Iran, there will be no better deal forthcoming and Congress will be left owning an unnecessary war.”[327] NIAC created a new group, NIAC Action, to run advertisements supporting the agreement.[324] NIAC also organized an open letter from 73 Middle East and foreign affairs scholars stating, “reactivating diplomatic channels between the United States and Iran is a necessary first step” to reduce conflict in the region, and that while “the nuclear deal will not automatically or immediately bring stability to the region … Ultimately, a Middle East where diplomacy is the norm rather than the exception will enhance U.S. national security and interests,”[328] Signatories to the letter include John EspositoEhsan YarshaterNoam ChomskyPeter BeinartJohn Mearsheimer, and Stephen Walt.[328]

U.S. pro-Israel groups divided on the JCPOA.[329] The American Israel Public Affairs Committee opposes the agreement, and formed a new 501(c)(4) group, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, to run a television advertising campaign against the JCPOA.[315][329][330][331] In August 2015, it was reported that AIPAC and Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran plan to spend between $20 million and $40 million on its campaign.[332] From mid-July to 4 August 2015, AIPAC’s Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran spent more than $11 million running network television political advertisements opposing the agreement in 23 states, spending more than $1 million in the large states of California, Florida, New York, and Texas.[332][333] In the first week of August, AIPAC said that it had 400 meetings with congressional offices as part of its campaign to defeat the agreement.[332]

In contrast to AIPAC, another pro-Israel organization, J Street, supports the agreement, and plans a $5 million advertising effort of its own to encourage Congress to support the agreement.[332][334] During the first week of August, J Street launched a $2 million, three-week ad campaign in support of the agreement, with television ads running in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.[335][336] From mid-July through early August, J Street reported having 125 meetings with congressional offices.[332] J Street has also paid to fly prominent Israelis who support the agreement (including Amram Mitzna, a retired Israeli general, member of the Knesset, and mayor of Haifa) to the United States to help persuade members of Congress to support the agreement.[332]

The group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) opposes the agreement and committed to spending more than $20 million on a national “TV, radio, print and digital campaign” against the agreement.[324][337] After UANI announced its opposition, the group’s president and co-founder, nonproliferation expert Gary Samore, announced that he had concluded “that the accord was in the United States’ interest” and supported the agreement.[324][338] Samore thus stepped down as president and was replaced by ex-Senator Joseph I. Lieberman.[338] By 20 August, UANI had released its third national television ad against the agreement.[337]

Anti-JCPOA bus advertisement in New York City. The bus ad was sponsored by New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind, an opponent of the agreement.[339]

Various other groups that have also run ad campaigns for or against the agreement. John R. Bolton‘s Foundation for American Security and Freedom has run advertisements against the agreement, as has “Veterans Against the Deal”, a group which does not disclose its donors.[340] Various pro-agreement ads were run by MoveOn.org (which ran an ad with the title “Let Diplomacy Work” theme), Americans United for Change (which warned “They’re back—the Iraq war hawks are fighting the Iran deal, want more war” over photos of Bolton, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld), and Global Zero (which ran a humorous ad featuring actors Jack BlackMorgan Freeman, and Natasha Lyonne).[340]

The New York-based Iran Project, a nonprofit led by former high-level U.S. diplomats and funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, along with the United Nations Association of the United States, supports the agreement.[341] The Rockefeller fund has also supported the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund, which has spent several years marshaling support for an agreement.[341]

On 17 July 2015, a bipartisan open letter endorsing the Iran agreement was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials.[342][343] The ex-ambassadors wrote: “If properly implemented, this comprehensive and rigorously negotiated agreement can be an effective instrument in arresting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons in the volatile and vitally important region of the Middle East. In our judgment the [plan] deserves Congressional support and the opportunity to show it can work. We firmly believe that the most effective way to protect U.S. national security, and that of our allies and friends is to ensure that tough-minded diplomacy has a chance to succeed before considering other more costly and risky alternatives.”[342][343] Among the signatories to the letter were Daniel C. KurtzerJames R. JonesFrank E. LoyPrinceton N. LymanJack F. Matlock Jr.Donald F. McHenryThomas E. McNamara, and Thomas R. Pickering.[343]

A separate public letter to Congress in support of the agreement from five former U.S. ambassadors to Israel from administrations of both parties, and three former Under Secretaries of State was released on 26 July 2015.[344] This letter was signed by R. Nicholas BurnsJames B. CunninghamWilliam C. HarropDaniel Kurtzer, Thomas R. Pickering, Edward S. Walker Jr., and Frank G. Wisner.[345] The former officials wrote: “We are persuaded that this agreement will put in place a set of constraints and monitoring measures that will arrest Iran’s nuclear program for at least fifteen years and assure that this agreement will leave Iran no legitimate avenue to produce a nuclear weapon during the next ten to fifteen years. This landmark agreement removes the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to the region and to Israel specifically.”[345]

Another public letter to Congress urging approval of the agreement was signed by a bipartisan group of more than sixty “national-security leaders”, including politicians, retired military officers, and diplomats.[344] This letter, dated 20 July 2015, stated: “We congratulate President Obama and all the negotiators for a landmark agreement unprecedented in its importance for preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iran…. We have followed carefully the negotiations as they have progressed and conclude that the JCPOA represents the achievement of greater security for us and our partners in the region.”[344][346] Among the Republicans who signed this letter are former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, former U.S. Trade RepresentativeCarla Anderson Hills, and former Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum.[344] Among the Democrats who signed the letter are former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Senate Majority Leaders George J. Mitchell and Tom Daschle, former Senator Carl Levin, and former Defense Secretary William Perry.[344][347] Also signing were former National Security Advisors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft; Under Secretaries of State R. Nicholas Burns and Thomas R. Pickering; U.S. Ambassadors Ryan Crocker and Stuart Eizenstat; Admiral Eric T. OlsonUnder Secretary of Defense for PolicyMichele Flournoy; and Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn.[347]

On 8 August 2015, 29 prominent U.S. scientists, mostly physicists, published an open letter endorsing the agreement.[348][349] The letter, addressed to President Obama, says: “We congratulate you and your team on negotiating a technically sound, stringent and innovative deal that will provide the necessary assurance in the coming decade and more than Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, and provides a basis for further initiatives to raise the barriers to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the globe.”[349] The letter also states that the agreement “will advance the cause of peace and security in the Middle East and can serve as a guidepost for future nonproliferation agreements”.[348][349] The 29 signatories included “some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in the fields of nuclear weapons and arms control”, many of whom have held Q clearances and have been longtime advisers to Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.[348] The five primary authors were Richard L. Garwin (a nuclear physicist who played a key role in the development of the first hydrogen bomb and who was described by The New York Times as “among the last living physicists who helped usher in the nuclear age”); Robert J. Goldston (Director of the Princeton Program on Science and Global Security and former director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory); R. Scott Kemp (an MIT professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a former science advisor for nonproliferation and arms control at the State Department); Rush D. Holt (a physicist and former U.S. Representative who is now the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science); and Frank N. von Hippel (Princeton Professor of Public Policy and former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). Six Nobel Prize in Physics laureates co-signed the letter: Philip W. Anderson of Princeton UniversityLeon N. Cooper of Brown UniversitySheldon L. Glashow of Boston UniversityDavid Gross of the University of California, Santa BarbaraBurton Richter of Stanford University; and Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[348] Among the other scientists to sign are Siegfried S. Hecker (a Stanford physicist and the former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory); Freeman Dyson (of Princeton), and Sidney Drell (of Stanford).[348]

On 11 August 2015, an open letter endorsing the agreement signed by 36 retired military generals and admirals, titled “The Iran Deal Benefits U.S. National Security: An Open Letter from Retired Generals and Admirals”, was released.[350][351] The letter, signed by retired officers from all five branches of the U.S. armed services, said that the agreement was “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons”, and said, “If at some point it becomes necessary to consider military action against Iran, gathering sufficient international support for such an effort would only be possible if we have first given the diplomatic path a chance. We must exhaust diplomatic options before moving to military ones.”[351] The signers included General James E. “Hoss” Cartwright of the Marine Corps, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Joseph P. Hoar of the Marine Corps, the former commander of the U.S. Central Command; and Generals Merrill McPeak and Lloyd W. Newton of the Air Force.[350][351] Other signers include Lieutenant Generals Robert G. Gard Jr. and Claudia J. Kennedy; Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn; Rear Admirals Garland Wright and Joseph Sestak; and Major General Paul D. Eaton.[351]

The above letter was answered on 25 August 2015, by a letter signed by more than 200 retired generals and admirals opposing the deal.[352][353][354] The letter asserted: “The agreement does not ‘cut off every pathway’ for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. To the contrary, it provides Iran with a legitimate pathway for doing exactly that simply by abiding by the deal…. The JCPOA would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”[354][355] This letter was organized by Leon A. “Bud” Edney; other signers included Admiral James A. Lyons; Lieutenant General William G. Boykin, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; and Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, former vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.[353]

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni said that he had refused requests from both sides to sign their letters, saying to Time magazine: “I’m convinced that 90% of the guys who signed the letter one way or the other don’t have any clue about whether it’s a good or bad deal. They sign it because somebody’s asked them to sign it.” As to the JCPOA Zinni said: “The agreement’s fine, if you think it can work. But if this is a Neville Chamberlain then you’re in a world of shit.”[355]

On 13 August, retired Senators Carl Levin of Michigan, a Democrat, and John Warner of Virginia, a Republican, co-wrote an op-ed in support of the agreement—titled “Why hawks should also back the Iran deal”—published in Politico.[356] Levin and Warner, both past chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee, argued, “If we reject the agreement, we risk isolating ourselves and damaging our ability to assemble the strongest possible coalition to stop Iran” in the event that military action was needed in the future.[356] Levin and Warner wrote, “The deal on the table is a strong agreement on many counts, and it leaves in place the robust deterrence and credibility of a military option. We urge our former colleagues not to take any action which would undermine the deterrent value of a coalition that participates in and could support the use of a military option. The failure of the United States to join the agreement would have that effect.”[356] On 14 August, retired senators Richard Lugar of Indiana, a Republican, and J. Bennett Johnston of Louisiana, a Democrat, also wrote in support of the agreement.[357] In a column for Reuters, Lugar and Johnston argued, “Rejection of the agreement would severely undermine the U.S. role as a leader and reliable partner around the globe. If Washington walks away from this hard-fought multilateral agreement, its dependability would likely be doubted for decades.”[357] They also wrote: “Tehran would be the winner of this U.S. rejection because it would achieve its major objective: the lifting of most sanctions without being required to accept constraints on its nuclear program. Iran could also claim to be a victim of American perfidy and try to convince other nations to break with U.S. leadership and with the entire international sanctions regime.”[357]

On 17 August 2015, a group of 75 arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts issued a joint statement endorsing the agreement.[358][359] The statement says, “the JCPOA is a strong, long-term, and verifiable agreement that will be a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts” and that the JCPOA’s “rigorous limits and transparency measures will make it very likely that any future effort by Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, even a clandestine program, would be detected promptly, providing the opportunity to intervene decisively to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”.[358][359] The letter was organized through the nonpartisan Arms Control Association.[359] Among the 75 signatories are the Valerie Plame and Joseph C. Wilson; former IAEA director-general Hans BlixMorton H. Halperin; and experts from the Brookings InstitutionStimson Center, and other think tanks.[358][359] On 3 September, an open letter to President Obama signed by 56 people was issued criticizing the JCPOA as “unverifiable”. The letter said: “Guided by our experience with U.S. and foreign nuclear weapons programs—as well as with the history and practice of arms control, nonproliferation, and intelligence matters, we judge the current JCPOA to be a very bad deal indeed.”[360] Signers included Boykin; Bolton; ex-CIA director James Woolsey, former national security advisor Robert McFarlanePaula A. DeSutter, former Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Implementation; various former ACDA officials; and former Sandia National Laboratories president/director C. Paul Robinson.[360]

Foreign diplomats are also involved in the congressional debate. The Israeli ambassador to the United StatesRon Dermer appeared on cable television shows to attack the agreement, while ambassadors from European nations, including Sir Peter Westmacott, the British ambassador to the United States, “came on to say the precise opposite”.[361] Dermer also lobbied members of Congress on Capitol Hill against the agreement,[362] while diplomats from France, Britain, and Germany made the rounds on Capitol Hill to advocate for the agreement.[363] On 4 August, P5+1 diplomats held “a rare meeting of world powers’ envoys on Capitol Hill” with about 30 Senate Democrats to urge support for the agreement, saying, “If Congress rejects this good deal, and the U.S. is forced to walk away, Iran will be left with an unconstrained nuclear program with far weaker monitoring arrangements, the current international consensus on sanctions would unravel, and international unity and pressure on Iran would be seriously undermined.”[364]

On Meet the Press on 6 September 2015, former Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed support for the nuclear agreement with Iran, saying that it was “a pretty good deal”.[365] Powell said that various provisions accepted by Iran—such as the reduction in centrifuges and the uranium stockpile and the agreement to shut down its plutonium reactor—were “remarkable changes” that stopped the Iranian pathway to a nuclear weapons program. Powell also defended the verification provisions of the agreement, saying: “I think a very vigorous verification regime has been put into place.”[365]

Former Ambassador Dennis Ross, a longtime American negotiator in the Middle East, wrote that he was not yet convinced by either proponents or opponents of the agreement.[366] Ross wrote that the United States should be focused on “deterring the Iranians from cheating” (e.g., by producing highly enriched uranium) after year fifteen of the agreement.[366] Ross wrote, “President Obama emphasizes that the agreement is based on verification not trust. But our catching Iran cheating is less important than the price they know they will pay if we catch them. Deterrence needs to apply not just for the life of the deal.”[366] As part of a deterrence strategy, Ross proposed transferring to Israel the U.S. Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) “bunker buster” bomb at some point before year fifteen of the agreement.[366] In a 25 August op-ed in The Washington Post, Ross and David H. Petraeus again argued for transferring the MOP to Israel.[367]

The Jewish American community was divided on the agreement. On 19 August 2015, leaders of the Reform Jewish movement, the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, issued a lengthy public statement expressed a neutral position on the agreement.[368][369]The statement, signed by the leaders of the Union for Reform JudaismCentral Conference of American RabbisReligious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Association of Reform Zionists of America, reflected what RabbiRick Jacobs, president of the URJ, called “deep divisions within the movement”.[368] On 20 August 2015, a group of 26 prominent current and foreign American Jewish communal leaders published a full-page ad in The New York Times with a statement backing the agreement; signers included three former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as well as former AIPAC executive director Tom Dine.[370] Separately, a group of 340 rabbis organized by Ameinu issued a public letter to Congress on 17 August 2015, in support of the agreement, saying: “We, along with many other Jewish leaders, fully support this historic nuclear accord.”[371] The signers were mostly Reform rabbis, but included at least 50 rabbis from the Conservative movement and at least one Orthodox rabbi.[372] Prominent rabbis who signed this letter included Sharon BrousBurton VisotzkyNina Beth CardinLawrence KushnerSharon Kleinbaum, and Amy Eilberg.[371] In a separate letter released 27 August, eleven Democratic Jewish former members of Congress urged support for the agreement; the letter noted the signatories’ pro-Israel credentials and said that the agreement “halts the immediate threat of a nuclear-armed Iran”, while a rejection of the deal would “put Iran back on the path to develop a nuclear weapon within two to three months”.[373] Signatories included former Senator Carl Levin and former Representatives Barney FrankMel LevineSteve Rothman, and Robert Wexler.[373]

Conversely, a group of 900 rabbis signed an open letter written by Kalman Topp and Yonah Bookstein in late August, calling upon Congress to reject the agreement.[374] The Orthodox Union and American Jewish Committee also announced opposition to the agreement.[375][376]

The Roman Catholic Church has expressed support for the agreement. In a 14 July 2015 letter to Congress, Bishop Oscar Cantú, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that the JCPOA was “a momentous agreement” which “signals progress in global nuclear non-proliferation”.[377][378] Cantú wrote that Catholic bishops in the United States “will continue to urge Congress to endorse the result of these intense negotiations because the alternative leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of profound concern to the Church”.[377][378]

On 25 August 2015, a group of 53 Christian faith leaders from a variety of denominations sent a message to Congress urging them to support the agreement.[379] The Christian leaders wrote: “This is a moment to remember the wisdom of Jesus who proclaimed from the Sermon on the Mount, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God’ (Matthew 5:9). … There is no question we are all better off with this deal than without it.”[379] The letter was coordinated by a Quaker group, the Friends Committee on National Legislation.[379] Signatories to the letter included Jim Wallis of SojournersJohn C. Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of ChristShane Claiborne; Adam Estle of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding; Archbishop Vicken Aykazian of the Armenian Orthodox Church; A. Roy Medley, the head of American Baptist Churches USA; the Reverend Paula Clayton Dempsey of the Alliance of Baptists, senior pastor Joel C. Hunter of Northland, A Church Distributed; and Sister Simone Campbell, a leader of the Catholic “Nuns on the Bus” campaigns.[379][380]

Congressional committee hearings

A hearing on the JCPOA before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee took place on 23 July 2015. Secretary of State Kerry, Treasury SecretaryJack Lew, and Energy Secretary Moniz testified.[309][381] Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the committee chairman, said in his opening statement that when the talks began the goal was to dismantle the Iranian nuclear program, whereas the achieved agreement codified “the industrialization of their nuclear program”.[382][383] Corker, addressing Secretary of State Kerry, said, “I believe you’ve been fleeced” and “… what you’ve really done here is you have turned Iran from being a pariah to now Congress, Congress being a pariah.”[363] Corker asserted that a new threshold in U.S. foreign policy was crossed and the agreement would “enable a state sponsor of terror to obtain sophisticated, industrial nuclear development program that has, as we know, only one real practical need”.[384] The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, said he had many questions and his hope was that the answers will cause a debate “in Congress and the American people”.[384] Democrats, led by Senator Barbara Boxer of California, expressed support for the agreement, with Boxer saying that criticisms by Republicans were “ridiculous”, “unfair”, and “wrong”.[309][363] Corker and Cardin sent a letter to Obama saying the bilateral IAEA-Iran document should be available for Congress to review.[363]

At the hearing Kerry, Lew, and Moniz “were unequivocal in their statements that the accord was the best that could be achieved and that without it, the international sanctions regime would collapse”.[309] Kerry warned that if the United States would be “on our own” if it were to walk away from a multi-lateral agreement alongside the five global powers.[363] Kerry stated that the belief that “some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation” could be achieved was “a fantasy, plain and simple”.[309]The Washington Postreported, “Moniz emerged as the calm center of the proceedings, beginning his interjections with recitations of what he described as ‘facts,’ and mildly observing that Republican characterizations were ‘incorrect.'”[363] Kerry, Lew, and Moniz faced “uniform animus of Republicans” at the hearing,[309] with Republican senators giving “long and often scathing speeches denouncing what they described as a fatally flawed agreement and accusing the administration of dangerous naivete” and showing “little interest in responses” from the three cabinet secretaries.[363]The Washington Post reported on twelve issues related to the agreement over which the two sides disagreed at the hearing.[385]

On 28 July, Kerry, Moniz, and Lew testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.[386] Committee chairman Ed Royce, Republican of California, said in his opening statement, “we are being asked to consider an agreement that gives Iran permanent sanctions relief for temporary nuclear restrictions.”[386][387] “Royce also said the inspection regime ‘came up short’ from ‘anywhere, anytime’ access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and criticized the removal of restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program and conventional arms.”[388] The committee’s ranking member, Representative Eliot Engel, Democrat of New York, said he has “serious questions and concerns” about the agreement.[388][389] Kerry, Lew, and Moniz spent four hours testifying before the committee.[390][391] At the hearing, Kerry stated that if Congress killed the deal, “You’ll not only be giving Iran a free pass to double the pace of its uranium enrichment, to build a heavy-water reactor, to install new and more efficient centrifuges, but they will do it all without the unprecedented inspection and transparency measures that we have secured. Everything that we have tried to prevent will now happen.”[392]

Senators John McCain (Republican of Arizona), the committee chair, and Jack Reed (Democrat of Rhode Island), the committee ranking member, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the JCPOA, 29 July 2015.

On 29 July, Secretary of DefenseAshton Carter, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kerry, Moniz, and Lew appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee in a three-hour hearing.[393] Carter and Dempsey had been invited to testify by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, the chairman of the committee; Kerry, Moniz, and Lew attended the hearing at the invitation of the Pentagon.[394][395] In his opening statement, McCain said that if this agreement failed and U.S. armed forces were called to take action against Iran, they “could be at greater risk because of this agreement”. He also asserted that the agreement may lead American allies and partners to fateful decisions and result in “growing regional security competition, new arms races, nuclear proliferation, and possibly conflict”.[396] The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, said Congress had an obligation “to independently validate that the agreement will meet our common goal of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon” and stated, “the agreement, no matter your position on it, is historic and, if implemented scrupulously, could serve as a strategic inflection point in the world’s relations with Iran, for international non-proliferation efforts, and for the political and security dynamics in the Middle East.”[397][398]

Carter said the agreement prevented Iran from “getting a nuclear weapon in a comprehensive and verifiable way”.[394] He assured the committee that the deal would not limit the U.S. ability to respond with military force if needed.[399] In response to a question from McCain, Carter said he had “no reason to foresee” that the agreement would cause Iran’s threatening behavior to change more broadly, stating “That is why it’s important that Iran not have a nuclear weapon.”[395][400] Dempsey offered what he described as a “pragmatic” view.[393] He neither praised nor criticized the deal, but did testify that the agreement reduced the chances of a near-term military conflict between the United States and Iran.[393] Dempsey said that the agreement works to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but does not address other concerns about Iran’s malign activities in the region, ranging from “ballistic missile technology to weapons trafficking, to … malicious activity in cyberspace”.[401] Dempsey testified, “Ultimately, time and Iranian behavior will determine if the nuclear agreement is effective and sustainable” and stated that he would continue to provide military options to the president.[401] Senator Joni Ernst expressed disagreement with President Obama who stated that the choice was the Iran nuclear deal or war. When General Martin Dempseytestified that the United States had “a range of options” and he presented them to the president, Ernst said: “it’s imperative everybody on the panel understand that there are other options available.”[402][403]

Under the JCPOA, Iran must submit a full report on its nuclear history before it can receive any sanctions relief.[404] The IAEA has confidential technical arrangements with many countries as a matter of standard operating procedure.[404][405][406] “Republican lawmakers refer to these agreements as ‘secret side deals’ and claim that the JCPOA hinges on a set of agreements no one in the administration has actually seen.”[405] Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Republican opponent of the agreement, said that Kerry had “acted like Pontius Pilate” and “washed his hands, kicked it to the IAEA, knowing Congress would not get this information unless someone went out to find it.”[407] On 30 July, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas introduced a resolutionseeking a delay in the review period, arguing, “The 60-calendar day period for review of such agreement in the Senate cannot be considered to have begun until the Majority Leader certifies that all of the materials required to be transmitted under the definition of the term ‘agreement’ under such Act, including any side agreements with Iran and United States Government-issued guidance materials in relation to Iran, have been transmitted to the Majority Leader.”[298][299] On 5 August, Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA, spoke with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a closed briefing about two IAEA documents: an agreement on inspection protocols with Iran and an agreement with Iran regarding Iranian disclosure of its previous nuclear activity (known as Possible Military Dimensions).[405][408] Following this briefing with Amano, Republican Senator Bob Corker, the committee chairman, told reporters: “The majority of members here left with far more questions than they had before the meeting took place” and “We can not get him to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin.” The committee’s ranking Democratic member, Senator Benjamin Cardin told reporters: “I thought today was helpful, but it was not a substitute for seeing the document.”[409]

State Department spokesman John Kirby responded, “There’s no secret deals between Iran and the IAEA that the P5+1 has not been briefed on in detail” and stated “These kinds of technical arrangements with the IAEA are a matter of standard practice, that they’re not released publicly or to other states, but our experts are familiar and comfortable with the contents, which we would be happy to discuss with Congress in a classified setting.”[406] The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation writes that: “The arrangement specifies procedural information regarding how the IAEA will conduct its investigation into Iran’s past nuclear history, including mentioning the names of informants who will be interviewed. Releasing this information would place those informants, and the information they hold, at risk.”[404] Mark Hibbs of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Thomas Shea, a former IAEA safeguards official and former head of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Programs at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, wrote that the charges of a “secret side deal” made by opponents of the agreement were a “manufactured controversy“.[81] Hibbs and Shea noted: “The IAEA has safeguards agreement with 180 countries. All have similar information protection provisions. Without these, governments would not open their nuclear programs for multilateral oversight. So IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was acting by the book on August 5 when he told members of Congress that he couldn’t share with them the details of [the] verification protocol the IAEA had negotiated with Iran as part of a bilateral ‘roadmap.'”[81]David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former IAEA nuclear inspector, stated that the demands for greater transparency regarding the agreement between Iran and IAEA “aren’t unreasonable” and, “Iran is a big screamer for more confidentiality. Nonetheless, if the IAEA wanted to make it more open, it could.”[410] Albright also proposed that the United States “should clearly and publicly confirm, and Congress should support with legislation, that if Iran does not address the IAEA’s concerns about the past military dimensions of its nuclear programs, U.S. sanctions will not be lifted”.[411]

Congressional support and opposition

Republican leaders vowed to attempt to kill the agreement as soon as it was released, even before classified sections were made available to Congress, and “Republican lawmakers raced to send out news releases criticizing it.”[412] According to The Washington Post, “most congressional Republicans remained deeply skeptical, some openly scornful, of the prospect of relieving economic sanctions while leaving any Iranian uranium-enrichment capability intact.”[413] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said the deal “appears to fall well short of the goal we all thought was trying to be achieved, which was that Iran would not be a nuclear state”.[413] A New York Times news analysis stated that Republican opposition to the agreement “seems born of genuine distaste for the deal’s details, inherent distrust of President Obama, intense loyalty to Israel and an expansive view of the role that sanctions have played beyond preventing Iran’s nuclear abilities”.[412]The Washington Post identified twelve issues related to the agreement on which the two sides disagreed, including the efficacy of inspections at undeclared sites; the effectiveness of the snapback sanctions; the significance of limits on enrichment; the significance of IAEA side agreements; the effectiveness of inspections of military sites; the consequences of walking away from an agreement; and the effects of lifting sanctions.[385][h]

One area of disagreement between supporters and opponents of the JCPOA is the consequences of walking away from an agreement, and whether renegotiation of the agreement is a realistic option.[385] Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, an opponent of the agreement, called for the U.S. government to keep sanctions in place, strengthen them, and “pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be”.[317] Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, said that he believed that it was “hyperbole” to say that the agreement was the only alternative to war.[385] President Obama, by contrast, argued that renegotiation of the deal is unrealistic, stating in his American University speech, “the notion that there is a better deal to be had. … relies on vague promises of toughness” and stated, “Those making this argument are either ignorant of Iranian society, or they are not being straight with the American people. … Neither the Iranian government, or the Iranian opposition, or the Iranian people would agree to what they would view as a total surrender of their sovereignty.”[316] Obama also argued, “those who say we can just walk away from this deal and maintain sanctions are selling a fantasy. Instead of strengthening our position, as some have suggested, Congress’ rejection would almost certainly result in multi-lateral sanctions unraveling,” because “our closest allies in Europe or in Asia, much less China or Russia, certainly are not going to enforce existing sanctions for another five, 10, 15 years according to the dictates of the U.S. Congress because their willingness to support sanctions in the first place was based on Iran ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It was not based on the belief that Iran cannot have peaceful nuclear power.”[316] Secretary of State Kerry has echoed these remarks, saying in July 2015 that the idea of a “‘better deal,’ some sort of unicorn arrangement involving Iran’s complete capitulation …. is a fantasy, plain and simple, and our intelligence community will tell you that”.[385][421] Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, a supporter of the agreement wrote: “Some say that, should the Senate reject this agreement, we would be in position to negotiate a “better” one. But I’ve spoken to representatives of the five nations that helped broker the deal, and they agree that this simply wouldn’t be the case.”[422][i]

On 28 July 2015, Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the longest-serving Jewish member now in Congress, announced in a lengthy statement that he would support the JCPOA, saying, “the agreement is the best way” to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and that a rejection of the agreement would lead the international sanctions regime to “quickly fall apart”, as “sanctions likely would not be continued even by our closest allies, and the United States would be isolated trying to enforce our unilateral sanctions as to Iran’s banking and oil sectors.”[390][426][427]

A key figure in the congressional review process is Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, a Democrat who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[293] Cardin took a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu opposing the agreement and participated in a private 90-minute session with Energy Secretary Moniz supporting the agreement.[293] On 21 July, Cardin said that if the agreement is implemented, the United States should increase military aid to Israel and friendly Gulf states.[293]

On 4 August 2015, three key and closely watched Senate Democrats—Tim Kaine of Virginia (a Foreign Relations Committee member), Barbara Boxer of California (also a Foreign Relations Committee member), and Bill Nelson of Florida—announced their support for the agreement.[428] In a floor speech that day, Kaine said that the agreement is “far preferable to any other alternative, including war” and, “America has honored its best traditions and shown that patient diplomacy can achieve what isolation and hostility cannot.”[428] In a similar floor speech the same day, Nelson said that: “I am convinced [that the agreement] will stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon for at least the next 10 to 15 years. No other available alternative accomplishes this vital objective”[429][430] and “If the U.S. walks away from this multinational agreement, I believe we would find ourselves alone in the world with little credibility.”[431] Conversely, another closely watched senator, Chuck Schumer of New York, who is expected to make a bid to become Senate Democratic leader,[294]announced his opposition to the agreement on 6 August, writing, “there is a strong case that we are better off without an agreement than with one”[317][432]

According to an Associated Press report, the classified assessment of the United States Intelligence Community on the agreement concludes that because Iran will be required by the agreement to provide international inspectors with “unprecedented volume of information about nearly every aspect of its existing nuclear program”, Iran’s ability to conceal a covert weapons program will be diminished.[433][434] In a 13 August letter to colleagues, ten current and former Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence (including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff) referred to this assessment as a reason to support the agreement, writing, “We are confident that this monitoring and the highly intrusive inspections provided for in the agreement—along with our own intelligence capabilities—make it nearly impossible for Iran to develop a covert enrichment effort without detection.”[434][435] The ten members also wrote “You need not take our word for it” and referred members to the classified assessment itself, which is located in an office in the Capitol basement and is available for members of Congress to read.[434][435]

Congressional votes

A resolution of disapproval was initially expected to pass both the House and Senate, meaning, “the real challenge for the White House is whether they can marshal enough Democrats to sustain the veto.”[436][437] Two-thirds of both houses (the House of Representatives and the Senate) are required to override a veto, meaning that one-third of either house (146 votes in the House, or 34 in the Senate) could sustain (uphold) President Obama’s veto of a resolution of disapproval.[438][439]

By early September 2015, 34 Senators had publicly confirmed support for the deal, a crucial threshold because it ensured that the Senate could sustain (i.e., uphold) any veto of a resolution of disapproval.[440] Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland announced support on 2 September, a day after Chris Coons of Delaware and Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania also announced support, reaching 34 votes and assuring that an eventual disapproval resolution passed in the Senate could not override an Obama veto.[441] By the following day, 38 Democratic senators supported the deal, 3 were opposed, and 5 were still undecided.[442]

By 8 September, all senators had made a commitment on the agreement, with 42 in support (40 Democrats and two independents) and 58 opposed (54 Republicans and four Democrats).[440] It is possible for senators in support of the agreement to kill the disapproval resolution outright in the Senate by effectively filibustering it, making it unnecessary for Obama to veto a disapproval resolution at all.[440] However, this is only possible if at least 41 vote to do so, and several senators in support of the agreement, including Coons, “have suggested they’d prefer an up-or-down vote on the deal instead of blocking it altogether”.[440]

The apparent success of a strategy to marshal congressional support for the deal, linked to a carefully orchestrated rollout of endorsements (although Democratic Senate WhipDick Durbin and other officials disputed the suggestion of coordination[443]) was attributed to lessons learned by the White House and congressional Democrats during struggles in previous summers with Republicans, in particular, over Obama’s health care legislation.[444] An August 2015 meeting at which top diplomats from the UK, Russia, China, Germany, and France told 10 undecided Democratic senators they had no intention of returning to the negotiating table was reported to be particularly crucial.[444] Senator Coons said: “They were clear and strong that we will not join you in re-imposing sanctions.”[444]

On 20 August 2015, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that House Democrats had the votes to uphold a veto of a resolution of disapproval.[445] To sustain a veto, Pelosi would need to hold only 146 of the 188 House Democrats;[446] by 20 August, about 60 House Democrats have publicly declared their support for the final agreement,[447] and about 12 had publicly declared their opposition.[445] In May 2015, before the final agreement was announced, 151 House Democrats signed in support for the broad outlines in the April framework agreement; none of those signatories have announced opposition to the final agreement.[439]

It was originally expected that the House would vote on a formal resolution of disapproval introduced by Representative Ed Royce, Republican of California, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.[448][j] As the Senate moved toward a vote on a resolution of disapproval, House leadership (under Republican control) planned to vote on a similar resolution of disapproval.[451] However, conservative Republicans “revolted in protest” as “the chamber’s right flank wanted tougher action from its leader” and the House Republican leadership (under Speaker John Boehner) planned to vote instead chose to bring a resolution of approval to the floor “as a way to effectively force Democrats who had voiced support for the president to formally register such endorsement”.[451] On 11 September 2015, the resolution failed, as expected, on a 162-269 vote; 244 Republicans and 25 Democrats voted no, while 162 Democrats and no Republicans voted yes.[451][452] On the same day, House Republicans held two additional votes, one on a resolution claiming that the Obama administration had failed to meet the requirements of a congressional review period on the deal and another resolution which would prevent the United States from lifting any sanctions.[451][453] The former resolution passed on a party-line vote, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed; the latter resolution passed on nearly a party-line vote, with all Republicans and two Democrats in favor and every other Democrat opposed.[451][453][454] The House action against the resolution was a “symbolic vote that will have no consequence for the implementation of the deal”, and the two anti-agreement measures passed by the House were seen as “unlikely to even reach Obama’s desk”.[453][454]

On 10 September, the day before the vote, House speaker Boehner threatened to “use every tool at our disposal to stop, slow and delay this agreement from being fully implemented” and said that a lawsuit by House Republicans against the president (claiming that the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act was not followed) was “an option that is very possible”.[453][455] Four months later, however, House Republicans abandoned their plans for a lawsuit against the administration over the JCPOA.[456]

Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit against President Obama and members of Congress in July 2015 in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, asserting that the agreement should be considered a treaty requiring Senate ratification.[457][458]Klayman’s suit was dismissed for lack of standing in September 2015.[459]

Review period in Iran

Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei issued a letter of guidelines to President Rouhani, ordering him on how to proceed with the deal.[139][140] On 21 June 2015, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) decided to form a committee to study the JCPOA and to wait at least 80 days before voting on it.[460] Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran chief Ali Akbar Salehi, defended the deal in Parliament on the same day.[460] Although the Iranian constitution gives Parliament the right to cancel the deal, it was reported that this outcome is unlikely.[460]The New York Times reported, “the legislators have effectively opted to withhold their judgment until they know whether the American Congress approves of the deal.”[460]

In televised remarks made on 23 July 2015, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected domestic criticism of the JCPOA from Iranian hardliners, “such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its allies”, which “have criticized the accord as an invasive affront to the country’s sovereignty and a capitulation to foreign adversaries, particularly the United States”.[461] In remarks described by The New York Times as “blunt” and uncharacteristically frank, Rouhani claimed a popular mandate to make an agreement based on his election in 2013 and warned that the alternative was “an economic Stone Age” brought on by sanctions which (as the Times described) have “shriveled oil exports and denied the country access to the global banking system“.[461] On 26 July, a two-page, top-secret directive sent to Iranian newspaper editors from Iran’s Supreme National Security Council surfaced online.[462] In the document, newspapers are instructed to avoid criticism of the agreement and to avoid giving the impression of “a rift” at the highest levels of government.[462] The BBCreported that the document appears to be aimed at constraining criticism of the JCPOA by Iranian hardliners.[462]

On 3 September, Iranian supreme leader Khamenei said that the Majlis should make the final decision on the agreement.[463] On the same day, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the parliament, said that he support the agreement and that: “The agreement needs to be discussed and needs to be approved by the Iranian parliament. There will be heated discussions and debates.”[463]

Abbas Milani and Michael McFaul wrote: “those [in Iran] supporting the deal include moderates inside the government, many opposition leaders, a majority of Iranian citizens, and many in the Iranian American diaspora—a disparate group that has rarely agreed on anything until now.”[464] Within the government, Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who negotiated the agreement, “are now the most vocal in defending it against Iranian hawks”.[464] Also vocally supporting the agreement are former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami and moderates within parliament.[464] The agreement is also supported by most prominent opposition leaders, including Mir-Hossein Mousavi, a 2009 presidential candidate who is under house arrest for his role as a leader of the Green Movement.[464]

Conversely, “the most militantly authoritarian, conservative, and anti-Western leaders and groups within Iran oppose the deal.”[464] The anti-agreement coalition in Iran includes former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, former head of Atomic Energy Organization of IranFereydoon Abbasi, ex-nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili; and various conservative clerics and Revolutionary Guard commanders.[464] This group has “issued blistering attacks on the incompetence of Iran’s negotiating team, claiming that negotiators caved on many key issues and were outmaneuvered by more clever and sinister American diplomats”.[464]

Anti-JCPOA representatives of Islamic Consultative Assembly protested Ali Akbar Saheli and made death threats toward him[465]

Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehqan said on 2 September that Iran would not allow the IAEA to visit every site or facility that it wishes.[466]

The Majlis special commission for examining the JCPOA, has invited Ali Shamkhani, as well as members of former nuclear negotiation team including Ali Bagheri and Fereydoon Abbasi to comment on the deal.[467] During the session, Saeed Jalili, ex-chief negotiator has slammed the deal, stating “approximately 100 absolute rights” of Iran were conceded to the opposing side. He believes the deal is “unacceptable” because Iran makes an “exceptional [nuclear case], replacing ‘permission’ with ‘right’ under the NPT, and accepting unconventional measures”.[468] He also believes that the deal has crossed the red lines drawn by the Supreme leader of Iran. His testimony was criticized by commission members Masoud Pezeshkian and Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani.[469] In another session, current negotiatiors Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-Ravanchi defended the deal, led by Javad Zarif.[470]

In the Iranian media, the leading reformist newspapers, Etemad and Shargh, “continue to write approvingly of the negotiations and their outcome”.[471] Conversely, the leading conservative paper Ettelaat has criticized the agreement.[471] The most “bombastic and hard-line criticism of the deal” has come from Kayhan, which is edited by Hossein Shariatmadari and closely associated with Khamenei, the supreme leader.[471]

The agreement is supported by many Iranian dissidents, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate, human rights activist, and Iranian exile Shirin Ebadi, who “labeled as ‘extremists’ those who opposed the agreement in Iran and America”.[464] Likewise, dissident journalist and former political prisonerAkbar Ganji expressed hope, “step-by-step nuclear accords, the lifting of economic sanctions and the improvement of the relations between Iran and Western powers will gradually remove the warlike and securitized environment from Iran.”[464] Citing Iran’s human rights situation and the “lack of religious and political freedom in the country”, some dissidents opposed the agreement, including Ahmad BatebiNazanin Afshin-Jam, and Roozbeh Farahanipour, who signed an open letter arguing, “more pressure should be applied to the regime, not less.”[472]

On 13 October, The New York Times and many other major U.S. news sources reported that the Iranian Parliament had approved the JPCOA by a vote of 161 votes in favor, 59 against and 13 abstentions. Major Iranian news sources including Fars News Agency and Press TV, referred to as a semi-official government source by U.S. media, reported that what was actually approved was a document consisting of the text of the JPCOA, supplemented by text unilaterally added by Iran and not agreed by the P5+1.[473][474][475][476][477][478]

Adoption Day

On 18 October 2015, EU High Representative Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif jointly announced “Adoption Day” for the JCPOA, noting actions taken and planned by the EU, Iran, the IAEA, and the United States, and stating, “All sides remain strongly committed to ensuring that implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action can start as soon as possible.”[479]

Implementation Day

Last meeting between diplomatic teams of Iran and the United States, at the Palais Coburg Hotel in Vienna

After the IAEA confirmed that Iran met the relevant requirements under the JCPOA, all nuclear sanctions were lifted by the UN, the EU and the United States on 16 January 2016.[480]

Washington imposed new sanctions on 11 companies and individuals for supplying Iran’s ballistic missile program on the first day of the implementation.[481][482][483] According to Kerry, $1.7 billion in debt with interest is to be paid to Tehran. However, some Iranian financial institutions including Ansar BankBank Saderat, Bank Saderat PLC, and Mehr Bank remain on the SDN List[484] and a number of U.S. sanctions with respect to Iran including existing terrorism, human rights and ballistic missiles-related sanctions will remain in place.[485]

Deterring Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons

Some argue that deterrence is the key to ensuring not just that Iran is in compliance with the agreement but also to preventing them from developing nuclear weapons.[486] Former Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation Robert Einhorn, a supporter of the agreement, wrote it would be better to have permanent or longer-term restrictions on Iran’s enrichment program, but preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is possible, “provided the United States and key partners maintain a strong and credible deterrent against a future Iranian decision to go for the bomb”.[487] According to Michael Eisenstadt, Director of the Military and Security Studies Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “deterring Iran from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons will remain the core imperative driving U.S. policy in the coming years”.[488]

Four days after the JCPOA was adopted, Khamenei delivered a speech, highlighting his fatwa and rejecting the claim that the nuclear talks rather than Iran’s religious abstinence prevented Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He said:

The Americans say they stopped Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. They know it’s not true. We had a fatwa (religious ruling), declaring nuclear weapons to be religiously forbidden under Islamic law. It had nothing to do with the nuclear talks.[489]

In a letter[490] addressed to Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, President Barack Obama raised the issue about U.S. ability to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons:

The JCPOA, moreover, does not remove any of our options when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. As I have repeatedly emphasized, my Administration will take whatever means are necessary to achieve that goal, including military means. Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States—including the military option—will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond.[490]

Ambassador Dennis Ross, former top Mideast official, and General David Petraeus, former CIA director, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed, “Bolstering deterrence is essential in addressing key vulnerabilities” of the agreement. Petraeus and Ross asserted that if Iran decide to race toward a nuclear weapon “there is a need not to speak of our options but of our readiness to use force”, since the threat of force is far more likely to deter the Iranians. They said the president could resolve their concerns by stating that he would use military force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including producing highly enriched uranium, even after the deal ends in 15 years. It is “critically important for the president to state this clearly, particularly given his perceived hesitancy to use force”, they said.[486][491]

In the same letter, Obama detailed the possible non-military unilateral and multilateral responses to be employed should Iran violate the agreement, however, the president made it clear: “Ultimately, it is essential that we retain the flexibility to decide what responsive measures we and our allies deem appropriate for any non-compliance.”[490] Flexibility meant that Obama rejected specifying “the penalties for smaller violations of the accord” in advance.[492]

The open letter, which was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials endorsing the agreement, begins with the words: “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran stands as a landmark agreement in deterring the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”[343][344] In contrast, Michael Mandelbaum, the Christian A. Herter Professor at the Johns Hopkins UniversitySchool of Advanced International Studies, wrote that nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East ultimately depended “not on the details of the Vienna agreement but on the familiar Cold-War policy of deterrence”. Mandelbaum added that if President Obama will leave office without Iran building the bomb, “the responsibility for conducting a policy of effective deterrence will fall on his successor.”[493] Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz expressed his view on deterring Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons as follows: “Nothing currently on the table will deter Iran. Sanctions are paper protests to an oil-rich nation. Diplomacy has already failed because Russia and China are playing both sides.”[494]

Aftermath

Impact

Economic

With the prospective lifting of some sanctions, the agreement was expected to have a significant impact on both the economy of Iran and global markets. The energy sector is particularly important, with Iran having nearly 10 percent of global oil reserves and 18 percent of natural gas reserves.[495] Millions of barrels of Iranian oil might come onto global markets, lowering the price of crude oil.[495][496] However, the impact would not be immediate, because Iran would not be able to implement measures that are needed to lift sanctions until the end of 2015.[496] Technology and investment from global integrated oil companies were expected to increase capacity from Iran’s oil fields and refineries, which have been in “disarray” in recent years, plagued by mismanagement and underinvestment.[495][496] Senior executives from oil giants Royal Dutch ShellTotal S.A, and Eni met with the Iranian oil minister in Vienna in June, the month before the JCPOA was announced, and sook business opportunities in Iran.[496]

The economic impact of a partial lifting of sanctions extends beyond the energy sector; The New York Times reported that “consumer-oriented companies, in particular, could find opportunity in this country with 81 million consumers,” many of whom are young and prefer Western products.[495] Iran is “considered a strong emerging market play” by investment and trading firms.[495]

French auto manufacturerPSA Peugeot Citroën was one of the first Western companies to re-establish commercial ties following the deal.[497]

In February 2016, after the end of a four year restriction, Iranian banks—except MehrAnsar and Saderat banks—[498]reconnected to the SWIFT.[499] However, many Iranian observers including critics of Rouhani’s administration, economists and private sector representatives claimed the news was false. According to Financial Timess report, Iran’s banks are indeed being reconnected to SWIFT but there have been “too few” transactions because european and US banks are “worried about the risks” of dealing with them and “scarred by a string of multibillion-dollar fines”.[498]

Three months after implementation, Iran was unable to tap about $100 billion held abroad. One 15 April 2016, Central Bank of Iran Governor Valiollah Seif said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that Iran has gotten “almost nothing” from the accord. He also met Secretary of TreasuryJack Lew on the sidelines of his Washington’s trip to discuss the concerns.[500]Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary, said that “the agreement that’s included in the JCPOA does not include giving Iran access to the US financial system or to allow the execution of so-called U-turn transactions.”[501]

On 20 April 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States decided on Bank Markazi v. Peterson and ruled that almost $2 billion of Iranian frozen assets must be given to families of people killed in the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings. The court accused Iran of being responsible for the incident.[502] Iranian foreign minister Zarif called the ruling “highway robbery”, lashing the court for its previous ruling of holding Iran responsible for 9/11, adding that the Supreme Court is “the Supreme Court of the United States, not the Supreme Court of the world. We’re not under its jurisdiction, nor is our money.”[503][504]

On 27 November 2016, Schlumberger, the largest oil service company in the world, announced that it had signed a preliminary deal to study an Iranian oil field. According to Schlumberger’s spokesperson, this was a memorandum of understanding with the state-run National Iranian Oil Company “for the non-disclosure of data required for a technical evaluation of a field development prospect”.[505]

Scientific

In July 2015, Richard Stone wrote in the journal Science in July 2015 that if the agreement is fully implemented, “Iran can expect a rapid expansion of scientific cooperation with Western powers. As its nuclear facilities are repurposed, scientists from Iran and abroad will team up in areas such as nuclear fusionastrophysics, and radioisotopes for cancer therapy.”[506]

Diplomatic

In August 2015, the British embassy in Tehran reopened almost four years after it was closed after protesters attacked the embassy in 2011.[507] At a reopening ceremony, Hammond said that since Rouhani’s election as president, British-Iranian relations had gone from a “low point” to steady “step-by-step” improvement.[507] Hammond said: “Last month’s historic nuclear agreement was another milestone, and showed the power of diplomacy, conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, to solve shared challenges. Re-opening the embassy is the logical next step to build confidence and trust between two great nations.”[507] The BBC‘s diplomatic correspondent, Jonathan Marcus, reported that the nuclear agreement “had clearly been decisive in prompting the UK embassy to be reopened”, stating that British-Iranian “ties have slowly been warming but it is clearly the successful conclusion of the nuclear accord with Iran that has paved the way for the embassy reopening”.[508]

Continued tensions

After the adoption of the JCPOA, the United States imposed several new non-nuclear sanctions against Iran, some of which were condemned by Iran as possible violations of the deal. According to Seyed Mohammad Marandi, professor at the University of Tehran, the general consensus in Iran while the negotiations were taking place was that the United States would move towards increasing sanctions on non-nuclear areas. He said that these post-JCPOA sanctions could “severely damage the chances for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action bearing fruit”.[509][510][neutrality is disputed]

On 8 and 9 March 2016, the IRGC conducted ballistic missile tests as part of its military drills, with one of the Qadr H missiles carrying the inscription, “Israel should be wiped off the Earth.”[511] Israel called on Western powers to punish Iran for the tests,[512] which U.S. officials said do not violate the nuclear deal, but may violate United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.[513] Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted that the tests were not in violation of the UNSC resolution.[514] On 17 March, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Iranian and British companies for involvement in the Iranian ballistic missile program.[515]

On 21 May 2016, Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, persisted that “U.S. must take practical steps” in the meeting with his New Zealander counterpart Murray McCully[516]

Iran–U.S. prisoner exchange

Hours before the official announcement of the activation of JCPOA on 16 January 2016, Iran released four imprisoned Iranian AmericansWashington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who had been convicted of espionage,[517] former Marine Corps infantryman Amir Hekmati, who had been convicted of co-operating with hostile governments,[518][519] Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who was convicted on national security charges,[520] and former Iranian infantryman Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, who was convicted of violating alcohol prohibitions and awaiting trial on espionage charges[521]—in exchange for the United States’ release of seven Iranian Americans—Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi and Tooraj Faridi, charged with sanctions violations,[522] Nader Modanlo, convicted of helping launch Iranian satellite Sina-1,[522] Arash Ghahreman, convicted of money laundering and sanctions violations for exporting navigation equipment to Iran,[522] Nima Golestaneh, convicted of hacking,[522] and Ali Saboonchi, convicted of sanctions violations[522]—and the dismissal of outstanding charges against 14 Iranians outside the United States.[523][524] A fifth American, student and researcher Matthew Trevithick, left Iran in a separate arrangement.[525][526][527]

As part of the exchange, the U.S. government dropped charges and Interpol red notices against “14 Iranians for whom it was assessed that extradition requests were unlikely to be successful.” Senior U.S. officials defended the agreement as a good deal for the U.S., but some Justice Department officials and FBI and DHS agents were critical because this disrupted the National Counterproliferation Initiative efforts “to lure top Iranian targets into traveling internationally in order to arrest them”.[528]

Continued criticism

Shahi Hamid of The Atlantic wrote that the agreement “had a narrow—if understandable—focus on the minutia of Iran’s nuclear program”, and “[t]he Obama administration repeatedly underscored that the negotiations weren’t about Iran’s other activities in the region: They were about the nuclear program.”[529] The U.S. government and observers noted from the time that the framework was entered into in April 2015 “that the United States and Iran still find themselves on opposite sides of most of the conflicts that have pitched the Arab world into chaos” and that the agreement was “unlikely” to cause Iran to become a firm partner of the West.[530]

The narrow nuclear non-proliferation focus of the deal was criticized by the agreement’s opponents (such as Lawrence J. Hass of the American Foreign Policy Council), who argued that the agreement was faulty because it did not address anti-Semitism and threats against Israel, hostility and rhetoric against America and the West in general, illegal missile testing, supplying of arms to terrorist groups, and efforts to destabilize ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen.[531]

In October 2015 The Wall Street Journal noted that Iran had recently carried out ballistic missile tests, announced the conviction of Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, launched military operations to maintain Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, and continued shipping arms and money to Houthi rebels in Yemen, the latter two actions fueling fears of a broader regional war.[532]

Israel and Saudi Arabia expressed concern about Iran’s ability to use diplomatic cover and unfrozen money from the deal to strengthen its regional position and that of its allies.[532] Critics in Washington accused the Obama administration of having been duped by Iran and Russia into accepting a deal that was antithetical to American interests.[532]

Meanwhile, the administration was also accused of whitewashing Iran’s failure to cooperate fully with the IAEA investigation into the possible military dimensions of its past nuclear work.[533]

In November 2015, The New York Times wrote, “[a]nyone who hoped that Iran’s nuclear agreement with the United States and other powers portended a new era of openness with the West has been jolted with a series of increasingly rude awakenings over the past few weeks.”[534] The Times reported, variously, that the Iranian government had invited a Lebanese-American to visit the country, and then arrested him for spying; the Ayatollah made a public statement that the slogan “Death to America” was “eternal”; a wave of anti-American billboards went up in the capital; a backlash by political hard-liners began and the Revolutionary Guard intelligence apparatus “started rounding up journalists, activists and cultural figures”; state media circulated conspiracy theories about the United States, including that the CIA had downed a Russian civilian passenger jet in Egypt; Iranian and Lebanese citizens in Iran holding dual American citizenship were targeted for arrest on charges of “spying”; clothing manufacturers were prohibited from selling items featuring the American or British flags; and a state-sponsored demonstration was held outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on the anniversary of the takeover and hostage crisis in 1979.[534]

Business Insider reported that a variety of factors made it more likely that Iran’s stance would harden once the agreement was in place, with one Iran expert saying that Iran’s “nice, smiling face” would now disappear as the country pursued more adversarial stances, and policy analysts saying that by negotiating the deal with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Obama had “made an investment in the stability of the [IRGC] regime”.[535]

The National Review wrote that the U.S. administration’s unwillingness to acknowledge any Iranian noncompliance had left the Iranians in control, and that the deal was undermining international security by emboldening Iran to act as a regional hegemon, at the expense of U.S. influence and credibility.[536]

The Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot argued in February 2016 that Iran’s prohibited missile tests, capture of U.S. naval personnel, and other provocations were a sign that rapprochement hoped for by Iran’s Western negotiating partners was not going to happen, saying the government had no interest in accommodating U.S. interests, seeking instead to humiliate the United States and spread propaganda. [537] Gigot noted Iran’s desire to be the dominant power in the Mideast and would work to promote instability there while using the nuclear agreement as a “shield” to protect from criticism of its “imperialist” behavior.[537]

James S. Robbins, an American political commentator and a senior fellow on the American Foreign Policy Council, criticized the nuclear deal as “impotent” because it does not limit Iran’s ballistic missile program, and UNSC Resolution 2231, which was adopted along with the deal, weakened the limits Iran’s ballistic missile program that had been imposed by previous UNSC resolutions.[538]

On 4 March 2016, Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote “the International Atomic Energy Agency’s most recent report on Iran’s nuclear activities provides insufficient details on important verification and monitoring issues,” and said that the report’s lack of detailed data prevented the international community from verifying whether Iran was complying with the deal.[539]

On 20 March 2017, the Trump administration formally certified that Iran was in compliance with JCPOA, but added that the country will be subject to non-nuclear, terrorism related, sanctions.[540] The Trump administration refused to recertify Iran’s compliance in October 2017, however, citing multiple violations. [541]

Violations

On 9 November 2016 Deutsche Welle, citing an alleged source from the IAEA, reported that “Iran has violated the terms of its nuclear deal.”[542]

On 1 December 2016, the U.S. Senate voted to renew the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for another decade. The future of nuclear agreement with Iran is uncertain under the administration of President Trump.[543] The Obama Administration and outside experts said the extension would have no practical effect and risked antagonizing Iran.[544]

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei,[545] President Rouhani,[546][547] and Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the extension of sanctions would be a breach of the nuclear deal.[548] Some Iranian officials said that Iran might ramp up uranium enrichment in response.[549]

In January 2017, representatives from Iran, P5+1 and EU gathered in Vienna’s Palais Coburg hotel to address Iran’s complaint about the US congressional bill.[546]

The Trump administration boasted that Trump personally lobbied dozens of European officials against doing business with Iran during the May 2017 Brussels summit; this likely violated the terms of the JCPOA, which expressly states that the U.S. may not pursue “any policy specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran”. The Trump administration certified in July 2017 that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement.[550] In October 2017, however, the Trump administration refused to recertify Iran’s compliance with the deal, saying that “Iran has violated the agreement multiple times.” [551]

The IAEA, EU, Russia and China have all affirmed that Iran is respecting the limitations on its nuclear program.[552] The IAEA, the foremost authority on the matter, has repeatedly deemed Iran in compliance with the nuclear deal. The U.S. State Department has also certified that Iran is holding up its end of the bargain, and a host of experts affirmed these findings.[553] IAEA Director General Amano said that “Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”[554]

Dispute over access to military sites

Ali Khamenei banned allowing international inspectors into military sites.[555] Trump and his administration said that Iranian military facilities could be used for nuclear-related activities barred under the agreement.[556] Iran rejected Trump’s request to allow inspection of Iran’s military sites.[557] However, Amano insisted that IAEA inspectors were entitled to inspect military sites under the agreement, although the IAEA has avoided requesting access to any military sites since the deal went into effect.[558][559]

Denial of Re-certification

On 13 October 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would not make the certification required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, accusing Iran of violating the “spirit” of the deal and calling on the U.S. Congress and international partners to “address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons”.[560]

Declaring that he would not decide to certify the deal, President Trump left it to Congress whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran and “blow up” the deal. However, Trump’s aides sought to enact rules indicating how the United States could “reimpose sanctions” and president listed three items which could provide such as “trigger” leaving the deal: Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile, Iranian rejection of “an extension of the deal’s existing constraint on its nuclear activities”, and “evidence that Iran could manufacture a bomb in less than 12 months”. Trump described the deal as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into”.[561]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that getting out from the Iran nuclear deal would “carry a high cost” for the United States.[562] Also he said that no president was allowed to “single-handedly revoke” the deal signed by the UN.[563]

After Trump said that he “can not and will not” recertify the nuclear deal with Iran, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel supported the deal in a joint statement. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Mogherini said that the agreement was working well and that no one country could break the deal concluded by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. She suggested a “collective process” for keeping the deal. Russia’s foreign minister confirmed that Iran was abiding by the nuclear deal.[563]

US withdrawal

On May 8, 2018, the United States officially withdrew from the agreement after President Donald Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering the reinstatement of harsher sanctions.[564] During Trump’s speech at May 8, 2018, he cited that his decision was due to violation of the deal by Iran and to prevent Iran to develop nuclear arms. No evidence of significant noncompliance was presented by President Trump to support his withdrawal decision and the IAEA inspection team has continued to assess that Iran has been in compliance.

The European members of the deal have stated that they would remain in this deal.

Consequences after US withdrawal

The Iran currency dropped significantly right after Trump announced the US withdrawal. The leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated: “I said from the first day: don’t trust America”[565]. Also, the American flag was set on fire in the Iran Parliament.[566].

See also

Notes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Comprehensive_Plan_of_Action

Story 2: Iran and Obama Lied To American People — President Trump’s Goal: Stop Nuclear Proliferation in Far East and Middle East By Diplomacy, Negotiation or Military Means — Videos

See the source image

Emily Landau: “Iran is strongly, strongly motivated to become a nuclear state”

Published on May 6, 2018

Dr. Emily Landau, one of the foremost experts on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, claims that Iran’s threats to pull out of the deal if Trump tries to renegotiate it are exaggerated – the deal has been great for Iran Read the full story: https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-n…

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See the source imageImage result for branco cartoons obama iran cash paymentsSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

Emily B. Landau

Emily B. Landau

Senior Research Fellow, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program
emily@inss.org.il
03-640-0408

CV

Emily Landau is a senior research fellow at INSS and head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program, leading its research, conference outreach, and mentorship projects. Dr. Landau has published and lectured extensively on nuclear proliferation, arms control, and regional security dynamics in the Middle East; WMD proliferation challenges in the post-Cold War era; Israel’s nuclear image and policy; and developments in global arms control thinking in the nuclear realm. Her books and monographs include Israel’s Nuclear Image: Arab Perceptions of Israel’s Nuclear Posture (co-author, 1994), a landmark study into the regional effects of Israel’s unique model of nuclear ambiguity; and a major study of the ACRS talks entitled Arms Control in the Middle East: Cooperative Security Dialogue and Regional Constraints (Sussex Academic Press, 2006). Her most recent publications include co-edited volumes, among them: The Obama Vision and Nuclear Disarmament (2011); The Nuclear Nonproliferation Regime at a Crossroads (2014), and Arms Control and National Security: New Horizons (2014). In 2012 she published Decade of Diplomacy: Negotiations with Iran and North Korea and the Future of Nuclear Nonproliferation, a comparative study assessing the effectiveness of negotiations as a strategy to confront the military nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. She is also the author of numerous book chapters and articles published in various academic and professional journals.

Dr. Landau has taught nuclear strategy, negotiations and arms control in different programs at Tel Aviv University since 2004; she currently teaches in the executive MA program on Diplomacy and Security at Tel Aviv University, as well as in the Lauder school of Government at IDC Herzliya (from 2013), and the International School at the University of Haifa (from 2008). She is a frequent expert commentator in Israeli and leading international media; her op-eds, comments and interviews have been featured in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalTime MagazineNational InterestFinancial TimesThe GuardianReutersBloomberg, and USA Today among others, and in Israel’s Times of IsraelJerusalem PostHaaretzMaariv, and Jerusalem Report.

Dr. Landau is a frequent guest lecturer and public speaker, and briefs many audiences on the Iranian nuclear crisis. She has participated in numerous Tack II initiatives on arms control and regional security in the Middle East, serving on the steering committee of the Euro-Mediterranean network of research institutes EuroMeSCo for eight years. She currently serves on the board of advisory editors of Fathom and is a member of IISS, London.  Dr. Landau holds a PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Forbesmagazine chose Dr. Landau as one of Israel’s fifty most influential women for 2015, in recognition of her work on security issues, in particular her public profile regarding the Iranian nuclear crisis.

 

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East

Preventing a nuclear meltdown in the Middle East
© Getty Images

U.S. geopolitical and nuclear nonproliferation objectives are on a potential collision course as Saudi Arabia seeks to join the Middle East’s growing nuclear power club by soliciting bids for the construction of two reactors. An agreement between the two countries to allow U.S.-supplied nuclear technology to flow to the kingdom must limit nuclear weapons potential and serve geostrategic objectives.

With the nuclear supplier-recipient relationship lasting up to 100 years, it is important that the United States be a principal nuclear partner with Saudi Arabia. It can provide proven technology, strong regulatory capability, and has a long history of strengthening global nuclear governance and opposing proliferation, providing confidence in the Saudis’ nascent program.

But the pathway to achieving the balance between geopolitical and non-proliferation goals is fraught and the decision-making timeline short, presenting a significant challenge to the Trump administration that conducts the negotiations and the Congress that controls final approval.

If the United States insists that the Saudis renounce the possession of nuclear technologies that have dual civil and weapons uses the negotiations may fail, raising geopolitical and security concerns. If it relies on international norms and guidelines instead, they will need to be firmly enforced and strengthened or risk proliferation concerns.

A major worry about Saudi nuclear ambitions is that it will try to match Iran atom-for-atom by possessing uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing that can be used to manufacture nuclear weapons materials. While energy diversity is an underlying rationale for the shift from fossil to nuclear generation, a significant impetus is to respond to the nuclear advances by Iran, its regional competitor. Iran’s nuclear program is currently limited under a multilateral agreement because of its weapons implications, but important restrictions will expire in coming years.

The United States has several nuclear cooperation agreements with nations in the Middle East, including Egypt and Morocco, but the most recent one with the United Arab Emirates is significant. This agreement prohibits enrichment and reprocessing and is dubbed the “gold standard.” This restriction exists in only one other agreement, between Taiwan and the United States. But, post-9/11, it has been proposed as a new threshold for future U.S. nuclear collaboration in the Middle East and beyond.

The Saudis have indicated resistance to this restriction, although they have not stated an intention to enrich uranium and have not publicly expressed an interest in plutonium reprocessing.

A consequence of insistence on the “gold standard” is that it could push the Saudis away from American technology and into the embrace of Russia or China, whose reactors likely will come with fewer strings and a cheaper price. This would open the door to greater geopolitical influence by strategic competitors of the United States undermining its political, nonproliferation and security goals. The choice of South Korea to fill the Saudis’ order, as it did for UAE, could partly serve U.S. interests, but would still require a U.S.-Saudi agreement if controlled American componentry is involved.

An alternative to the “gold standard” requires that the United States focus on ensuring the effectiveness of other constraints. This includes enforcing the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) restrictions on the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology if it may aid a weapons effort and closing loopholes that non-NSG nations could use to skirt the controls. The Saudis can enhance their nonproliferation credentials by accepting the Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. This would allow in-depth verification that its nuclear activities are peaceful.

Bilaterally, the United States maintains consent rights over the use and disposition of the nuclear fuel it provides. An additional step can be copied from the U.S.-South Korea nuclear pact, which faced similar pressures to provide access to weapons capable technologies. It allowed for a multi-year joint examination of a sensitive technology without pre-authorizing its use. A comparable approach would recognize the Saudis’ rights under the Nonproliferation Treaty but eliminate immediate concerns about weapon-grade materials in the kingdom.

Nuclear geopolitical and nonproliferation imperatives cannot be in conflict in the Middle East — both are critically important. There are serious concerns about the dangers posed by the production of weapon-grade materials in the region, including a potential Iran-Saudi nuclear arms race and the temptation for nuclear terrorism. There are equally real dangers that without a central U.S. role in the Saudi program nuclear and global security will suffer.

The balance between these goals can be found, but it will require creativity, compromise and a commitment to limit the inevitable imperfections.

Kenneth N. Luongo is president and founder of the Partnership for Global Security and the Center for a Secure Nuclear Future. He served from 1994-1997 as senior advisor to the Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation Policy and simultaneously as the Department of Energy’s director of the Office of Arms Control and Nonproliferation.

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/375585-preventing-a-nuclear-meltdown-in-the-middle-east

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 833, February 7, 2017, Story 1: Appeaser Obama’s Legacy of A Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal: Islamic Republic of Iran Puts Trump On Notice — Nuclear Agreement Allows Iran To Build Ballistic Missiles With A 2,000 Mile Range To Enable Iran To Strike Israel — Time Trump Triggers Terrorist Terminations — First: Islamic State — Second: Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Will Prevail In The Vigorous Vetting and Pause In Granting Visas From Travelers From Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Coal, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Drones, Education, Egypt, Empires, Energy, Environment, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, House of Representatives, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Libya, MIssiles, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear, Oil, Pistols, Rifles, Russia, Senate, Solar, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 833: February 7, 2017

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Story 1: Appeaser Obama’s Legacy of A Bad Iranian Nuclear Deal: Islamic Republic of Iran Puts Trump On Notice — Nuclear Agreement Allows Iran To Build Ballistic Missiles With A 2,000 Mile Range To Enable Iran To Strike Israel — Time Trump Triggers Terrorist Terminations — First: Islamic State — Second: Islamic Republic of Iran — Videos — 

The Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Bomb

Russia rejects Trump’s claim that Iran is top terrorist state

Iran Defends Test of Ballistic Missile

Trump blasts Iran over ballistic missile test

Is War With Iran Inevitable?

Donald Trump warns of the Muslim Problem

Trump on Iran: ‘They will know I am not playing games’

Donald Trump about fighting ISIS | Islamic State Terrorism | Trump Presidential Announcement

Trump’s First Military Action Obliterated 30 Innocent Civilians

Iran Vows More Missile Tests Despite ‘Notice’ | MSNBC

Iran ‘On Notice’: Will Trump Pull The Trigger?

Eric Shawn reports: The Iran deal meets Mr. Trump

Is War with Iran in the Cards with the Trump Foreign Policy Team?

IRAN WARNS UNITED STATES DONT MAKE A PROBLEM OVER MISSILE! BREAKING NEWS 01 02 2017 BREAKING NEWS

Iran Test-Fire Of Medium-Range Missile Ends In Failure

Trump Slams Iran Nuclear Deal: ‘It’s an Embarrassment to Our Country’

Islamic Republic vs Islamic State: What’s The Difference?

USA vs SYRIA & IRAN & RUSSIA Military Power Comparison 2017 (Middle East War) HD

IRAN vs ISRAEL | Military Power Comparison 2016 HD

IRAN Army | IRAN Military Power 2016

Saudi Arabia VS Iran | Military Power Comparison | 2016

Saudi Arabia Military Power 2016-2017 | Saudi Arabian Army

Can Saudi Arabia fight two wars at once? BBC News

Saudi Air Force ON THE WAY to help their “Moderate” Friends

The differences and similarities between Sunni and Shia Isalm

A Short History of Islam: From Muhammad to ISIS

What ISIS Wants

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

World War 3 Could Start This Month 350,000 Soldiers In Saudi Arabia Stand Ready To Invade Syria

 

Published on Feb 16, 2016

WW3 Syria, Middle East, Turkey, Russia, World War 3 northern thunder
350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called “Northern Thunder”.

Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno: Future of the U.S. Army

General Raymond Odierno Retiring {U.S. Army} 8-14-15

General Raymond T. Odierno Millitary Confession About Obama

OBAMA IS PISSED! Top Army Chief Of Staff General Drops Bombshell About Him As He Resigns

OBAMA JUST MADE A DRASTIC MOVE THAT LEFT AMERICA COMPLETELY DEFENSELESS

10 Countries Most Likely To Start WW3

Top 10 Countries That Would Not Survive WW3

10 Safest Countries If WW3 Breaks Out

10 Safest Spots During World War 3

Obama Recalls All Aircraft Carriers back to US, None At Sea Anywhere

Published on Jan 2, 2017

Barack Obama has recalled all 10 U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers from the Middle East, leaving the United States wide open to a potential attack.
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/30/…
News Stories about Carriers: http://yournewswire.com/obama-recalls…
https://www.superstation95.com/index….
Nwo Report: http://www.nworeport.me

No US carrier at sea leaves gap in Middle East

NOW PLAYINGUS Navy warship returns to ISIS fight

For the next week, not only will there be no U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Middle East, but there will be no American aircraft carriers deployed at sea anywhere else in the world, despite a host of worldwide threats facing the United States.

VIDEO: WHAT THE AIR FORCE NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH GLOBAL DEMAND

The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and her strike group returned to Norfolk, Va., Friday following a seven-month deployment. The Ike launched hundreds of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria from both the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf.

Two destroyers in the Ike’s strike group also saw combat. The USS Nitze and USS Mason were attacked in the Red Sea when Iranian backed Houthi forces in Yemen launched cruise misisles, which were intercepted by the Mason. A retaliatory strike by the Nitze destroyed the radar installations in Yemen in October.

IRAN CONDUCTS ‘WAR-GAME’ EXERCISES, THREATENS TO SHOOT DOWN TRESPASSING AIRCRAFT

The Eisenhower’s replacement carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, was delayed by more than six months in the shipyards and will not be able to replace the Ike until early next year, according to Navy officials.

While there is no U.S. aircraft carrier in the Middle East right now, there is a large deck U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship with thousands of Marines on board as well as helicopters and some jets to respond to a crisis, according to officials.

In the meantime, the Navy tells Fox News the U.S. military has other jets available to make up for the aircraft carrier gap in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. The Navy can also “surge” a carrier now in port to deploy if necessary. But the absence of a deployed U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, long seen as a symbol of American power projection, is noteworthy. It is believed to be the first time since World War II that at least one U.S. aircraft carrier has not been deployed.

“We are not going to discuss the timing of operational movements of carrier strike groups into and out of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility,” said Capt. Terry Shannon, a U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokesman, in a statement to Fox News. Centcom is tasked with control over all U.S. forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

It’s not the first time there was a carrier gap in the Middle East. Last fall, the U.S. Navy relied on a French aircraft carrier to fill the void when the USS Theodore Roosevelt returned home. At the time it was the first gap in carrier coverage in the Middle East since 2007.

Other factors contribute to the U.S. Navy not having an aircraft carrier deployed anywhere in the world right now. From 2011 to 2013, the Navy maintained two carriers in the Persian Gulf on the orders of Centcom’s then-commander, Gen. James Mattis, who is now President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary.

The congressionally mandated budget cuts known as sequestration have also been felt on the waterfront since 2011. After billions of dollars were cut from the Navy’s budget, ships such as the George H.W. Bush were forced to prolong their time in the shipyards, which had a ripple effect down the line. If the Bush had left the shipyard on time, she would have relieved the Ike in the Gulf or the Mediterranean, officials tell Fox News.

Fox News recently flew out to the USS George H.W. Bush 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina to see the crew’s final tuneup.

With jets landing every 60 seconds, the flight deck crew worked on getting the time between “traps” (landings) down to 40 seconds.

Aboard the ship, 18- to 22-year-old men and women work 14 hour days on the flight deck, with little rest — all this before deploying and potentially dropping live rounds on ISIS.

“This is the military equivalent of spring training, because once we complete this at the end of December, then we’ll be going forward and it’ll be real forces that we’ll be going flying with and against,” said Rear Adm. Kenneth Whitesell, commander, Carrier Strike 2, interviewed on his perch above the four-acre flight deck known as “Vulture’s Row.”

In addition to fighting ISIS, the ship’s commanding officer says his crew will be ready to deal with a resurgent Russia or China if necessary.

“While we don’t have any emergent or pending conflicts with them, certainly, it is fair to say that we have divergent interests in many cases. and so we need to be prepared to understand how we will react to that if necessary,” said Capt. Will Pennington.

There is recent history with this ship.

On Aug. 8, 2014, a pair of F-18s from the Bush launched the first airstrikes against ISIS in northern Iraq.

Now, two and a half years later, the ship is headed back to the fight against the Islamic State terror group.

“That doesn’t mean that three months or six months from now, that will be the priority for our country. So we have to be ready to execute anywhere, anytime, any mission,” said Capt. James McCall, commander of Air Wing 8, in charge of all of the aircraft on board.

Fox News’ Stephen Scarola contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/12/30/no-us-carrier-at-sea-leaves-gap-in-middle-east.html

Hey, Team Trump: Tell America what’s in the Iran deal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Jan. 30, 2017, Iran tested a new ballistic missile, seemingly the long-range Khorramshahr. In response, the White House announced sanctions against 25 Iranian individuals and companies. It’s a small reaction to an extraordinary provocation that rips away the curtain obscuring America’s foreign-policy decisions, past and present.

The past first. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) congratulated the White House on the sanctions, which was a little hypocritical since he was one of the people who caused the problem in the first place.

In negotiating the secret Iran deal, President Barack Obama took the position that it wasn’t a treaty and therefore didn’t require Senate ratification under the Constitution. Had it been a treaty, Obama would’ve needed two-thirds of the upper chamber’s votes — which he wouldn’t have gotten.

Instead, Corker flipped the procedure around with a motion to condemn the treaty, which would’ve required a two-thirds vote to override a presidential veto. That wasn’t going to happen, so Obama got his treaty.

But what was in the treaty? Ah, that was the great thing. No one knew. And now the Iranians are telling us that Obama secretly promised them they could build ballistic missiles capable of a 2,000-mile flight.

Why that number? Because the Iranians insisted they wanted to be able to strike every part of Israel, and the European members of the six-party Iran talks — Germany, France and Britain — didn’t mind so long as Iran couldn’t build longer-range missiles that could reach them. No skin off their noses if Israel were destroyed.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The administration thought the Iranian missile launched last month was a medium-range Shahab missile (postmarked Israel-only). It seems to have taken that from a speech by Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan last September.

The problem is, that’s not what Dehghan said, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute. The Iranians have been phasing out the Shahab missile, and what he was referring to were long-range missiles such as the Khorramshahr, which he said would be operational by March 2017, along with similar long-range surface-to-surface missiles.

The new missiles have a range of 2,500 to 5,000 miles and could easily reach all of Europe. Add a range of another 500 miles and that includes Boston. At the same time that we gave Iran the green light for its nuclear program, we gave it the means to attack us.

Lest any doubt remain, we watered down a UN Security Council resolution that might have gotten in the way.

Resolution 1929 banned Iran from conducting any activity concerning missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but this was amended by Security Council Resolution 2231 which substituted: “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

In other words, we gave the Iranians the wiggle room to say that, even if their missiles are capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, that doesn’t matter because they weren’t designed with that in mind.

So who would be the recipient of the Iranians missiles? Israel, obviously. And also the United Kingdom and America. MEMRI reports that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps theoretician Hassan Abbasi has announced that Iran has “a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and the English.”

We told the Iranians we don’t care all that much about the ­Israelis, just leave us out of it. Except that it didn’t quite work out that way for Obama and Corker, as it didn’t work out for Neville Chamberlain when he called Czechoslovakia a “far-away country.” The Iran deal was supposed to bring peace to the region, but instead it handed Trump the equivalent of the Cuban missile crisis.

US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn called the Iranian missile test a violation of the Security Council resolution. That’s an acknowledgment that the` new administration intends to be bound by Security Council resolutions, which is interesting in itself. But Flynn also needs to go public with the details of the Iran deal, including all the secret side agreements.

If we agreed to give Iran the means to attack Israel with a medium-range missile, we need to fess up. And if Iran has violated the agreement by testing longer-range missiles, our announced sanctions are a sadly inadequate response.

The Iran mess underscores the need for a revolution in American strategic thinking, one that recognizes the importance of an effort to recast our relationship with Russia and to rethink the purpose of the NATO alliance.

F.H. Buckley teaches at Scalia Law School. His most recent book is “The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America.”

http://nypost.com/2017/02/06/hey-team-trump-tell-america-whats-in-the-iran-deal/

 

Story 2: President Trump Will Prevail In The Vigorous Vetting and Pause In Granting Visas From Travelers From Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen — Videos

 

Judge Napolitano’s take on the travel ban legal battle

Is the president within his bounds with the travel ban?

How both sides see the legal challenge on Trump’s travel ban

Why I Left the Left

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The Pronk Pops Show 580, November 23, 2015, Story 1: United States of America Declares War Against Islamic State When Trump Is Elected President? — Videos

Posted on November 23, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Business, Coal, Communications, Congress, Consitutional Law, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Defense Spending, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Investments, Islam, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Middle East, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, News, Obama, Oil, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Rifles, Scandals, Security, Senate, Spying, Success, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 580: November 23, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 579: November 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 578: November 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 577: November 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 576: November 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 575: November 16, 2015  (more…)

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The Pronk Pops Show 575, November 16, 2015, Story 1: Islamic State Provoking The Crusaders For A Rematch in Syria and Iraq — Neocon War Drums Booming On Potomac — American People Demanding Closing of U.S. Borders — France One Big Gun Free Zone Seals Borders — Trump: “you know the toughest gun laws in the world, Paris” — “Nobody had guns but the bad guys. Nobody had guns. Nobody,” — Send Syrian Refugees To Sunny Guantanamo Bay — Obama’s Refuses To Change Islamic State Strategy of Patience and Leading From Behind — Videos

Posted on November 16, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, European History, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Investments, Israel, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Media, Middle East, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, News, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Rifles, Scandals, Security, Senate, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Unemployment, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 575: November 16, 2015 

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The Pronk Pops Show 502, July 10, 2015, Story 1: When Will Obama and Kerry Walk Like Men Out Of Negotiations With The World Leading Terrorist Nation The Islamic Republic of Iran? Never! — Yakety Yak– Where Is The Written Signed Agreement/Treaty Stopping Iran From Having Nuclear Weapons President Obama? — Time To Release Some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) — Bunker Busters on Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Factories — Bombs Away — Videos

Posted on July 10, 2015. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Comedy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Defense Spending, Drones, Economics, Education, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Gangs, Government, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Insurance, Investments, IRS, Islam, Israel, Labor Economics, Law, Media, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, Movies, Music, Natural Gas, Networking, Neutron Bomb, News, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Republican Candidates For President 2016, Resources, Rifles, Scandals, Security, Social Science, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Trade Policy, Transportation, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 502  July 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 501  July 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 500  July 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 499  July 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 498  July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497  July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496  June 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 495  June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494 June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493 June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492 June 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 491 June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490 June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489 June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488 June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487 June 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 486 June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485 June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481 June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480 June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475 June 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 473 May 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 472 May 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 471 May 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 462 May 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Story 1: When Will Obama and Kerry Walk Like Men Out Of Negotiations With The World Leading Terrorist Nation The Islamic Republic of Iran? Never! — Yakety Yak– Where Is The Written Signed Agreement/Treaty Stopping Iran From Having Nuclear Weapons President Obama? — Time To Release Some Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOPs) — Bunker Busters on Iran’s Nuclear Bomb Factories — Bombs Away — Videos

Divine – Walk Like A Man (1985) HQ

Walk Like a Man – The Four Seasons

Walk Like A Man – Jersey Boys Movie

“Walk Like A Man”

oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
Walk like a manOh how you tried
To cut me down to size
by telling dirty lies to my friends
But my own father
Said give her up, don’t bother
The world isn’t coming to an endHe said walk like a man
Talk like a man
Walk like a man my son
No woman’s worth
Crawling on the earth
So walk like a man my sonoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-ooFine eyed baby
I don’t mean maybe
We’re gonna get along somehow
Soon you’ll be crying
On ‘count of all you’re lying
Oh yeah, just look who’s laughing nowI’m gonna walk like a man
Fast as I can
Walk like a man from you
I’ll tell the world
Forget about it girl
And walk like a man from youoo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo
(Wop wop wop wop)
oo woo-oo-oo oo woo-oo-oo

Walk Like a Man Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Lyrics

July 2015 Breaking News USA ready to attack Iranian nuclear facilities with awe-inspiring plan B

30,000 Pound Bunker Buster Bomb designed to detour Iran Nuclear Threat

As negotiations with Iran continue towards a nuclear arms agreement, the United States still holds a trump card. The 30,000 Pound Boeing GBU-57 Bunker Buster bomb, the largest non-nuclear weapon in U.S. inventory, designed to destroy nuclear weapons bunkers in Iran and North Korea. The bunker buster, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has been improved with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex.”

“Hopefully we never have to use it, but if we had to, it would work.”

The existence of a bomb that has the capability of destroying the underground facility from the air could also give the West extra bargaining power in nuclear negotiations with the Iran.

US officials believe the improved MOP will serve to convince Israel to hold off on unilaterally attacking Iran and give Washington more time to diplomatically neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.

US military chiefs openly admitted the weapon was built to attack the fortified nuclear facilities of “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. Although the Pentagon insists that it is not aimed at a specific threat, unnamed officials within the ministry have repeatedly claimed the bomb is being tailor-made to disable Iranian nuclear facilities at Fordo.

Vienna talks on Iran nuclear deal will continue over weekend

U.S.’s Kerry says not in rush to get Iran nuclear deal

Iran Nuclear Deal Deadlocked Over Arms

Weapons of War: Pentagon Upgrades Biggest ‘Bunker Buster’ Bomb

Bunkers & Bunker Busting Bombs

MOP Massive Ordnance Penetrator GBU-57A-B Penetrator bunker buster bomb Iran United States

World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013

Israeli Air force NASTY SURPRISE for Iran military

World War 3 Pentagon unveils 30,000 pound M O P Bunker Buster Bomb against Iran May 03, 2013

Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) 37,000 LB Bombs To The USAF – GBU-57

ONE BOMB KILLS 40 TANKS us air force CBU 105 cluster bomb

Israel Air Force Refuels Mid-air

Only on AP: US Tankers Refuel for IS Fight

WATCH OUT IRAN Israeli Air Force unveils Refueling aircraft for possible Airstrike

Israel To Buy 25 More F-35 Lockheed Stealth Fighters: Sources

December 2014 Breaking News USA F35 Israel to buy second squadron of stealth F35 jets

News Wrap: As deadline looms, Kerry says Iran nuclear talks not ‘open-ended’

Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons In Concert Live

Frankie Valli And 4 Seasons Live on Ice 2008

The Coasters – Yakety Yak – ORIGINAL MONO VERSION

Yakety Yak – The Coasters with lyrics

Where Have all the Flowers Gone: Eve of Destruction

Iran Made Illegal Purchases of Nuclear Weapons Technology Last Month

1:48 AM, JUL 10, 2015 • BY BENJAMIN WEINTHAL AND EMANUELE OTTOLENGHI

The question is not whether Iran can be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal now being negotiated in Vienna (it can’t), but whether the Obama administration and its P5+1 partners can be trusted to punish Iran when it violates the agreement?

Experience shows that unless Iran violates the deal egregiously, the temptation will be to ignore it. For instance, Iran got away with selling more oil than it should have under the interim agreement. More ominously, Tehran repeatedly pushed the envelope on technical aspects of the agreement—such as caps on its uranium stockpile—and got away with it. The Obama administration and other Western powers have so much invested in their diplomatic efforts that they’ll deny such violations ever occurred.

More evidence of Iranian violations has now surfaced. Two reports regarding Iran’s attempts to illicitly and clandestinely procure technology for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs have recently been published. They show that Iran’s procurement continues apace, if not faster than before the Joint Plan of Action was signed in November 2013. But fear of potentially embarrassing negotiators and derailing negotiations has made some states reluctant to report Tehran’s illegal efforts. If these countries have hesitated to expose Iran during the negotiations, it is more likely they will refrain from reporting after a deal is struck.

The first report was released last month by the U.N. panel of experts in charge of reporting compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding Iran. The panel noted that U.N. member states had not reported significant violations of U.N. sanctions and speculated as to why: either Iran was complying, or countries did not wish to interfere with negotiations.

Paddle, pedal, jog or Segway through North America’s largest urban parkland—Edmonton’s river valley.

Promoted by Edmonton, Alberta Canada

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The second report, released last week by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, is less ambiguous. The agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, confirmed to us that Iran continues to seek illicit technology for its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

Iran has had a long history of trying to obtain nuclear technology from German companies, particularly by seeking ways to transport merchandise in circumvention of international sanctions. Since November 2013, Tehran has sought industry computers, high-speed cameras, cable fiber, and pumps for its nuclear and missile program. It appears that Iran’s readiness to negotiate does not reflect any substantive policy change. Rather, it is a diplomatic tactic retreat forced by economic distress, not a strategic rethinking of its priorities.

Iran’s cheating should give Western negotiators additional resolve to impose ironclad guarantees in the agreement. They should compel Iran to reveal its past activities, including its post-JPOA procurement efforts, and impose tough, intrusive, “anytime, anywhere” inspections before sanctions are suspended, let alone lifted.

Instead, the lack of reporting to the U.N. despite evidence of cheating suggests a lack of resolve on the part of Western nations, and their willingness to downplay all but the most egregious violations. This does not bode well for the future. If Western powers are reluctant to penalize Iran for trying to evade sanctions because they’re afraid of spoiling the negotiations, what will happen in the future when Western powers have even more invested in preserving an agreement?

Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/iran-made-illegal-purchases-nuclear-weapons-technology-last-month_988067.html

Massive Ordnance Penetrator

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator
USAF MOP test release crop.jpg

GBU-57 MOP prototype
Type Bunker buster” bomb
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States Air Force
Production history
Manufacturer Boeing[1]
Specifications
Weight 30,000 pounds (14,000 kg)
Length 20.5 feet (6.2 m)
Diameter 31.5 inches (0.80 m)

The GBU-57A/BMassive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is a U.S. Air Force, precision-guided, 30,000-pound (13,608 kg) “bunker busterbomb.[2] This is substantially larger than the deepest penetrating bunker busters previously available, the 5,000-pound (2,268 kg) GBU-28 and GBU-37.

Development

In 2002, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin were working on the development of a 30,000-lb (13,600 kg) earth-penetrating weapon, said to be known as “Big BLU“. But funding and technical difficulties resulted in the development work being abandoned. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, analysis of sites that had been attacked with bunker-buster bombs revealed poor penetration and inadequate levels of destruction.[citation needed]This renewed interest in the development of a super-large bunker-buster, and the MOP project was initiated by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fulfill a long-standing Air Force requirement.[3]

The U.S. Air Force has not officially recognized specific military requirement for an ultra-large bomb, but it does have a concept for a collection of massively sized penetrator and blast weapons, the so-called “Big BLU” collection, which includes the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) bomb. Development of the MOP was performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with design and testing work performed by Boeing. It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 bomber, and will be guided by the use of GPS.[4][5]

Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force’s B-2s is to be able to carry two 14-ton MOPs.[6][7]

The initial explosive test of MOP took place on 14 March 2007 in a tunnel belonging to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

On 6 October 2009, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had requested and obtained permission from the U.S. Congress to shift funding in order to accelerate the project.[8][9] It was later announced by the U.S. military that “funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule” meant the bomb would not be deployable until December 2010, six months later than the original availability date.[10]

The project has had at least one successful Flight Test MOP launch.[11] The final testing will be completed in 2012.[3]

The Air Force took delivery of 20 bombs, designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber, in September 2011. In February 2012, Congress approved $81.6 million to further develop and improve the weapon.[12]

Recent development

On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment for $28 million.[13]

On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need”.[14] The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011.[15] And as of March 2012, there is an “operational stockpile” at Whiteman Air Force Base.[16]

In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon.[1] A 2013 report stated that the development had been a success,[17] and B-2 integration testing began that year.[18]

Next-generation Penetrator Munition

On 25 June 2010, USAF Lt. Gen. Phillip Breedlove said that the Next-generation Penetrator Munition should be about a third the size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator so it could be carried by affordable aircraft.[19] In December 2010, the USAF had a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Next Generation Penetrator (NGP).[20]

Global Strike Command has indicated that one of the objectives for the Next-Generation Bomber is for it to carry a weapon with the effects of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would either be with the same weapon or a smaller weapon that uses rocket power to reach sufficient speed to match the penetrating power of the larger weapon.[21]

One of the current limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuze and will therefore detonate after it has come to a stop, even if it passed by the target area.[22]

Specifications

  • Length: 20.5 feet (6.2 m)[23]
  • Diameter: 31.5 inches (0.8 m)[23]
  • Weight: 30,000 pounds (13,608 kilograms)
  • Warhead: 5,300 pounds (2,404.0 kilograms) high explosive
  • Penetration: 200 ft (61 m)[6]

See also

Specific large bombs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_Ordnance_Penetrator

  • April 2, 2015
  • 1950s
Nov. 24, 2014

Kerry Announces Extension to Iran Talks Video by Reuters/ Photo by Roland Schlager/European Pressphoto Agency

U.S. and Allies Extend Iran Nuclear Talks by 7 Months

A yearlong effort to reach an enduring accord with Iran to dismantle large parts of its nuclear infrastructure fell short, forcing the United States and its allies to declare a seven-month extension, but with no clear indication of how they plan to bridge fundamental differences.

Nov. 20, 2014

The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, Catherine Ashton, who is representing the European Union, and Secretary of State John Kerry in Vienna. Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

Negotiators Scrambling as Deadline Looms in Nuclear Talks

As six world powers and Iran race to meet a Monday deadline for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the United States stakes out an ambitious goal for what an accord should accomplish.

American officials say the agreement should slow the Iranian nuclear program enough that it would take Iran at least a year to make enough material for a nuclear bomb if it decided to ignore the accord.

It has become increasingly unlikely that any accord announced on Monday would be a complete one. And whatever deal is reached, it may not matter if Iranian hard-liners have their way. In Iran, the final decision on a nuclear deal lies with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader.

Nov. 3, 2014

Under a proposed deal, Russia will convert uranium into specialized fuel rods for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant.Majid Asgaripour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Role for Russia Gives Iran Talks a Possible Boost

Iran tentatively agrees to ship much of its huge stockpile of uranium to Russia for conversion into specialized fuel rods for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Iran’s only commercial reactor. The agreement is potentially a major breakthrough in talks that have until now been deadlocked.

A key question remains about the negotiations that American officials have been loath to discuss in public: In a final deal, would Iran be required to publicly admit its past activities, or merely provide a mechanism for monitoring its actions in the future?

Aug. 27, 2014

Iran’s nuclear reactor in Arak, about 150 miles southwest of Tehran, is being redesigned.Hamid Foroutan/Iranian Students News Agency, via Associated Press

Iran Altering Arak Reactor in Bid for Nuclear Deal

Atomic power engineers in Iran start redesigning a partly constructed reactor in Arak to limit the amount of plutonium it produces, Ali Akbar Salehi, the director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, says, expressing hope that the change will help alleviate Western objections that the plutonium can be used in weapons.

July 18, 2014

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended, Diplomats Say

Iran, the United States and the five other countries agree to a four-month extension of the negotiations, giving them more time to try to bridge a major difference over whether the country will be forced to dismantle parts of its nuclear infrastructure, according to senior Western diplomats involved in the talks.

July 14, 2014

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, accuses the West of trying to sabotage a reactor being built near Arak.Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iran Outlines Nuclear Deal; Accepts Limit

As the deadline for the talks approaches on Sunday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, says the country could accept a freeze on its capacity to produce nuclear fuel at current levels for several years, provided it could eventually produce fuel unhindered.

The proposal will effectively extend a limited series of concessions Iran made last November as part of a temporary deal to get negotiations started on a permanent accord. In return, Iran wants step-by-step relief from sanctions that have substantially weakened its economy.

May 24, 2014

Iran Is Providing Information on Its Detonators, Report Says

The I.A.E.A. releases a report stating that Iran is beginning to turn over information related to its nuclear detonators. The agency says that Iran has provided “additional information and explanations,” including documents, to substantiate its claim that it had tested the detonators for “a civilian application.”

Jan. 12, 2014

From left, Foreign Ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, and Secretary of State John Kerry with Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh of Jordan, in Paris. Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

Negotiators Put Final Touches on Iran Accord

Iran and a group of six world powers complete a deal that will temporarily freeze much of Tehran’s nuclear program starting Jan. 20, in exchange for limited relief from Western economic sanctions.

The agreement faced opposition from Iranian hard-liners and Israeli leaders, as well as heavy criticism from some American lawmakers, who have threatened to approve further sanctions despite President Obama’s promise of a veto.

Nov. 24, 2013

The negotiators in Geneva early Sunday morning. President Obama hailed the agreement. Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Deal With Iran Halts Nuclear Program

The United States and five other world powers announce a landmark accord that would temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement.

The aim of the accord, which is to last six months, is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could only be used for peaceful purposes.

Nov. 14, 2013

Obama Calls for Patience in Iran Talks

I.A.E.A. inspectors release a report stating that for the first time in years, they saw evidence that the Iranians have put the brakes on their nuclear expansion.

President Obama makes an appeal to Congress to give breathing space to his efforts to forge a nuclear deal with Iran.

Nov. 11, 2013
00:00
00:00

Iran is in a much different position now to negotiate on its nuclear program than it was four years ago when President Obama first broached the subject.

Iran Says It Agrees to ‘Road Map’ With U.N. on Nuclear Inspections

The I.A.E.A. says that Iran has agreed to resolve all outstanding issues with the agency, and will permit “managed access” by international inspectors to two key nuclear facilities. But the promise does not extend to the Parchin military site, which inspectors have been trying to see for months.

Marathon talks between major powers and Iran fail to ease sanctions on the country and produce a deal to freeze its nuclear program.

Oct. 16, 2013
00:00
00:00

Iran Talks Called Substantive

Iran and a group of six world powers say that they have engaged in “substantive” and “forward-looking” discussions on the disputed Iranian nuclear program and that they will reconvene on November 7.

The account of the two days of talks in Geneva came in a rare joint statement from Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Catherine Ashton, the foreign policy chief for the European Union, who is the lead negotiator with Iran.

Sept. 27, 2013
00:00
00:00

First Direct US-Iran Talk Since 1979

President Obama says he has spoken by phone with President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct contact between the leaders of Iran and the United States since 1979. Mr. Obama, speaking in the White House briefing room, said the two leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program and said he was persuaded there was a basis for an agreement.

Moments before Mr. Obama’s announcement, Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter account posted this now-deleted message: “In a phone conversation b/w #Iranian & #US Presidents just now: @HassanRouhani: “Have a Nice Day!” @BarackObama: “Thank you. Khodahafez.”

Sept. 24, 2013
00:00
00:00

Rouhani, Blunt and Charming, Pitches a Moderate Iran in First U.N. Appearance

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, turns himself into a high-speed salesman offering a flurry of speeches, tweets, televised interviews and carefully curated private meetings, intended to end Iran’s economic isolation.

At the United Nations General Assembly, he preaches tolerance and understanding, decries as a form of violence the Western sanctions imposed on his country and says nuclear weapons have no place in its future. He takes aim at Israel’s nuclear arsenal in a public – while the country’s leaders caution over what they deem as an empty charm offensive.

Sept. 19, 2013

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new leader, received a private letter from President Obama about easing tensions between the countries.Vahid Salemi/Associated Press

Iran Said to Seek a Nuclear Accord to End Sanctions

Seizing on a perceived flexibility in a letter from President Obama to President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s leaders are focused on getting quick relief from crippling sanctions, a top adviser to the Iranian leadership says.

The adviser says that Mr. Obama’s letter, delivered about three weeks ago, promised relief from sanctions if Tehran demonstrated a willingness to “cooperate with the international community, keep your commitments and remove ambiguities.”

Aug. 28, 2013

Iran Slows Its Gathering of Enriched Uranium, Report Says

I.A.E.A. inspectors say that Iran is slowing its accumulation of enriched uranium that can be quickly turned into fuel for an atomic bomb. The report’s disclosure is significant politically because it delays the day when Iran could breach what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel last fall called a “red line” beyond which Iran would not be allowed to pass — the point at which it has enough purified uranium to quickly make a single nuclear weapon.

June 15, 2013

Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, has been elected the next president of Iran.

Iran Elects New President

Voters overwhelmingly elect Hassan Rouhani, 64, a mild-mannered cleric who advocates greater personal freedoms and a more conciliatory approach to the world.

The diplomat sheik played a key role in Iran’s voluntary suspension of uranium enrichment in 2004, which Western powers responded to by asking for more concessions from Iran.

Mr. Rouhani replaces his predecessors’ foreign minister with Mohammad Javad Zarif, an American-educated diplomat known for his understanding of the West, and makes him responsible for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Mr. Rouhani also removes a hard-line nuclear scientists as head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, and replaces him with the former foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi. In September, Iran’s longtime ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency will be replaced as well.

June 2013

U.S. Adds to Its List of Sanctions Against Iran

The Obama administration escalates sanctions against Iran for the fourth time in a week, blacklisting what it describes as a global network of front companies controlled by Iran’s top leaders, accusing them of hiding assets and generating billions of dollars worth of revenue to help Tehran evade sanctions.

The White House also accuses Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of personally directing an effort to bypass them.

The United States also blacklists Iranian petrochemical companies, its automotive industry and more than 50 Iranian officials, and threatens to sanction foreign banks that trade or hold Iran’s national currency, the rial.

May 22, 2013

Iran Is Seen Advancing Nuclear Bid

The I.A.E.A. says Iran has made significant progress across the board in its nuclear program, while negotiations with the West dragged on this spring. But it said that it has not gone past the “red line” that Israel’s leaders have declared could trigger military action.

In its last report before the Iranian elections next month, the agency also gives details that point to an emerging production strategy by the Iranians. One strategy involves speeding ahead with another potential route to a bomb: producing plutonium. The report indicates that Iran is making significant progress at its Arak complex, where it has built a heavy-water facility and is expected to have a reactor running by the end of next year.

May 9, 2013

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Those Aiding Iran

The United States expands its roster of those violating Iran sanctions, blacklisting four Iranian companies and one individual suspected of helping the country enrich nuclear fuel. It also singles out two other companies, including a Venezuelan-Iranian bank, accused of helping Iran evade other Western-imposed prohibitions on oil sales and financial dealings.

The penalties came a day after the Senate introduced legislation that could effectively deny the Iran government access to an estimated $100 billion worth of its own money parked in overseas banks, a step that proponents said could significantly damage Iran’s financial stability.

April 23, 2013

Fearing Price Increases, Iranians Hoard Goods

Iranians rush to supermarkets to buy cooking oil, red meat and other staples, stockpiling the goods over new fears of price spikes from a change in the official exchange rate that could severely reduce the already weakened purchasing power of the rial, the national currency.

Prices of staples are set to increase by as much as 60 percent because of the currency change.

Economists say the result is from a combination of severe Western sanctions and what many call the government’s economic mismanagement.

April 18, 2013

Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon. Next week he will travel to the Middle East to finalize the arms sale.Brendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

U.S. Arms Deal With Israel and 2 Arab Nations Is Near

The Defense Department is expecting to finalize a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week that will provide missiles, warplanes and troop transports to help them counter any future threat from Iran.

Israeli Officials Stress Readiness for Lone Strike on Iran

In an interview with the BBC, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, saying Israel has “different vulnerabilities and different capabilities” than the United States. “We have to make our own calculations, when we lose the capacity to defend ourselves by ourselves.”

Israeli defense and military officials have been issuing explicit warnings this week that Israel was prepared and had the capability to carry out a lone military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

April 12, 2013

US Blacklists an Iranian and Businesses Over Violation of Sanctions

The United States blacklists an affluent Iranian business executive, Babak Morteza Zanjani, and what it describes as his multibillion-dollar money laundering network, accusing them of selling oil for Iran in violation of the Western economic sanctions imposed over Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

On March 14, The Treasury Department, which administers the government’s Iran sanctions, blacklisted a Greek shipping tycoon, Dimitris Cambis, over what it called his scheme to acquire a fleet of oil tankers on Iran’s behalf and disguise their ownership to ship Iranian oil.

April 9, 2013

Family members of slain nuclear scientists stood with Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, far right, a nuclear official. Arash Khamoushi/Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, via Associated Press

After Talks End, Iran Announces an Expansion of Nuclear Fuel Production

Iran’s president announces an expansion of the country’s uranium production and claims other atomic energy advances, striking a pugnacious tone in the aftermath of diplomatic talks thatended in an impasse with the big powers on April 6 in Kazakhstan.

April 8, 2013
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A look, provided by the United States Navy, at how its laser attack weapon works. The video is silent.

Navy Deploying Laser Weapon Prototype Near Iran

The U.S. announces that the Navy will deploy a laser weapon prototype in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian fast-attack boats have harassed American warships and where the government in Tehran is building remotely piloted aircraft carrying surveillance pods and, someday potentially, rockets.

The laser will not be operational until next year. It has been shown in tests to disable patrol boats and blind or destroy surveillance drones.

March 14, 2013

President Obama traveled to Israel on March 20, in a symbolic two-day visit to the country, the first of his presidency.

Iran Nuclear Weapon to Take Year or More, Obama Says

President Obama tells an Israeli television station that his administration believes it would take Iran “over a year or so” to develop a nuclear weapon.

Mr. Obama’s estimated timeline contrasts with Mr. Netanyahu’s stated belief that Israel and its Western allies are likely to have to intervene by the spring or summer, when, he says, Iran’s scientists will have enriched enough uranium to become a nuclear threat.

Feb. 26, 2013

Defiant Mood at Talks

Iran meets with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Kazakhstan, but talks end with no specific agreement over a proposal that would sharply constrain Iran’s stockpile of the most dangerous enriched uranium, in return for a modest lifting of some sanctions.

The six powers also agreed that Iran could keep a small amount of 20 percent enriched uranium — which can be converted to bomb grade with modest additional processing — for use in a reactor to produce medical isotopes.

Iranian oil sales have been reduced by half as a result of the international pressure on the country, and restrictions on financial transactions and transportation have created many difficulties for its leaders.

Feb. 23, 2013

New Deposits of Uranium

The state news agency IRNA quotes a report by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, saying that it had found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more nuclear power stations.

Iran’s raw uranium reserves now total around 4,400 tons, including discoveries over the past 18 months, IRNA quoted the report as saying.

A few weeks earlier, Ayatollah Khamenei said that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons but added that if Iran ever decided to build them, no “global power” could stop it.

Feb. 6, 2013

Speaking to air force commanders in Tehran on Feb. 6, Ayatollah Khamenei said Iran “will not negotiate under pressure.” Khamenei Official Web site, via European Pressphoto Agency

U.S. Bolsters Sanctions

A new round of American sanctions take effect which state that any country that buys Iranian oil must put the purchase money into a local bank account. Iran cannot repatriate the money and can use it only to buy goods within that country. Violators risk severe penalties in doing business with the United States. Oil exports from Iran have already dropped by a million barrels a day.

A week earlier, Iran announces that it would deploy a new generation of centrifuges, four to six times as powerful as the current generation.

October 2012

Iran’s Currency Tumbles

After months of harsh, American-led sanctions, Iran’s currency, the rial, plunges 40 percent. The currency lost about half its value in 2012.

Most of that decline comes in a frenzy of speculative selling by Iranians worried that rapid inflation could render their money worthless. The government responds with a crackdown in which some money traders are arrested.

The depressed value of the rial forces Iranians to carry ever-fatter wads of bank notes to buy everyday items. But the sanctions also present a new complication to Iran’s banking authorities: they may not be able to print enough money.

Meanwhile, the European Union toughens sanctions against Iran, banning trade in industries like finance, metals and natural gas, and making other business transactions far more cumbersome.

Sept. 27, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, displaying his red line for Iran’s nuclear program. Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Israel’s ‘Red Line’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tells the United Nations that Iran’s capability to enrich uranium must be stopped before the spring or early summer, arguing that by that time Iran will be in a position to make a short, perhaps undetectable, sprint to manufacture its first nuclear weapon.

August 2012

New Work at Nuclear Site

The United Nations atomic agency reports that Iran has installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to complete a deep-underground site under a mountain near Qum for the production of nuclear fuel.

The I.A.E.A. also says that Iran may have sought to cleanse another site where the agency has said it suspects that the country has conducted explosive experiments that could be relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the United States imposes more punishing sanctions against Iran, aimed at its oil and petrochemical sectors, as well as its shipping trade, intensifying existing sanctions intended to choke off the revenue that Iran reaps from its two largest export industries.

July 1, 2012

The Neptune, an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, is part of a fleet of about 65 Iranian tankers serving as floating storage facilities for Iranian oil, each one given a nautical makeover to conceal its origin and make a buyer easier to find. Thomas Erdbrink

Embargo on Iranian Oil

A European Union embargo on Iranian oil takes effect, playing a large role in severely restricting Iran’s ability to sell its most important export.

In retaliation, Iran announces legislation intended to disrupt traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital Persian Gulf shipping lane, and tests missiles in a desert drill clearly intended as a warning to Israel and the United States.

In January 2013, Iran’s oil minister, Rostam Qasemi, acknowledged for the first time that petroleum exports and sales had fallen by at least 40 percent in the previous year, costing the country $4 billion to $8 billion each month.

May 24, 2012

Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, in Baghdad. Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

Talks With West Falter

After a brief spurt of optimism, talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear program fail to produce a breakthrough in Baghdad. The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany wanted a freeze on Iranian production of uranium enriched to 20 percent purity, which is considered a short step from bomb grade. The Iranians wanted an easing of the onerous economic sanctions imposed by the West and a recognition of what they call their right to enrich. The countries agree to meet again in June, but talks were further slowed after a new regimen of harsh economic sanctions and a statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran had made ”no progress” toward providing access to restricted sites it suspects of being used to test potential triggers for nuclear warheads.

March 2012

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad surveying the centrifuges at Iran’s underground complex at Natanz in March 2007.Office of the Iranian President

New Centrifuges at Natanz

Iran says it is building about3,000 advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz plant.

Meanwhile, I.A.E.A. inspectors are still trying to gain access to the Parchin site, 20 miles south of Tehran, to ascertain whether tests have been carried out there on nuclear bomb triggers.

But satellites images show that the site has been extensively cleaned by the Iranians.

Jan. 11, 2012
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Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency supplied this photo of what it said was Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car after the bombing.Meghdad Madadi/Fars News Agency, via Associated Press

Bomb Kills Nuclear Scientist

A bomber on a motorcycle kills Mostafa Ahmadi Rosha, a scientist from the Natanz site, and his bodyguard. Iran blames Israel and the United States. The Americans deny the accusation, but Israel is more circumspect.

Dec. 4, 2011

Iran displayed the drone for propaganda purposes, with photographs of ayatollahs who led Iran’s revolution behind it and a desecrated version of the American flag. Revolutionary Guards, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Blow to U.S., as Drone Crashes

A stealth C.I.A. drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashes near the Iranian town of Kashmar, 140 miles from the Afghan border. It is part of a stepped-up surveillance program that has frequently sent the United States’ most hard-to-detect drone into Iran to map suspected nuclear sites.

Iran asserts that its military downed the aircraft, but American officials say the drone was lost because of a malfunction.

Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press

Natanz Plant Recovers

After a dip in enriched uranium production in 2010 because of the cyberattacks, Iranian production recovers. While the United States and Israel never acknowledged responsibility for the cyberprogram, Olympic Games, some experts argue that it set the Iranians back a year or two. Others say that estimate overstates the effect.

With the program still running, intelligence agencies in the United States and Israel seek out new targets that could further slow Iran’s progress.

November 2011

A poster of an Iranian gas field is a backdrop to passers-by in Asaluyeh. Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times

West Expands Sanctions, and U.N. Offers Evidence on Nuclear Work

Major Western powers take significant steps to cut Iran off from the international financial system, announcing coordinated sanctions aimed at its central bank and commercial banks. The United States also imposes sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s nuclear industry, as well as on its petrochemical and oil industries.

The United Nations atomic agency releases evidence that it says make a “credible” case that “Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device” at its Parchin military base and that the project may still be under way.

Nov. 29, 2010

One of the two cars bombed in Tehran. Reuters

Bombings Strike Scientists in Iran

Unidentified attackers riding motorcycles bomb two of Iran’s top nuclear scientists, killing one and prompting accusations that the United States and Israel are again trying to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program.

The scientist who was killed, Majid Shahriari, reportedly managed a ”major project” for the country’s Atomic Energy Organization. His wounded colleague, Fereydoon Abbasi, is believed to be even more important; he is on the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for ties to the Iranian nuclear effort.

July 15, 2010

The Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, with his 7-year-old son, greeting family members in Tehran.Newsha Tavakolian/Polaris, for The New York Times

Iranian Scientist Defects to U.S., Then Reconsiders

Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist who American officials say defected to the United States in 2009, provided information about Iran’s nuclear weapons program and then developed second thoughts, returning to Iran. (After a hero’s welcome, he was imprisoned on treason charges and tortured, according to reports from Iran.)

The bizarre episode was the latest in a tale that has featured a mysterious disappearance from a hotel room in Saudi Arabia, rumors of a trove of new intelligence about Iran’s nuclear plants and a series of contradictory YouTube videos. It immediately set off a renewed propaganda war between Iran and the United States.

June 2010

Ambassadors to the United Nations, from right: Susan E. Rice of the United States, Mark Lyall Grant of Britain and Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda voted to affirm a Security Council resolution on Iran while Turkey’s ambassador, Ertugrul Apakan, voted against it. Mario Tama/Getty Images

U.N. Approves New Sanctions

The United Nations Security Council levels its fourth round of sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions curtail military purchases, trade and financial transactions carried out by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the nuclear program.

The Security Council also requires countries to inspect ships or planes headed to or from Iran if they suspect banned cargo. In addition, Iran is barred from investing in other countries’ nuclear enrichment plants, uranium mines and related technologies, and the Security Council sets up a committee to monitor enforcement.

Summer 2010

Computer Worms Leak Online; 1,000 Centrifuges Destroyed

The United States and Israel realize that copies of the computer sabotage program introduced in Natanz are available on the Internet, where they are replicating quickly. In a few weeks, articles appear in the news media about a mysterious new computer worm carried on USB keys that exploits a hole in the Windows operating system. The worm is named Stuxnet.

President Obama decides not to kill the program, and a subsequent attack takes out nearly 1,000 Iranian centrifuges, nearly a fifth of those operating.

February 2010

Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.Herwig Prammer/Reuters

Work on Warhead

The United Nations’ nuclear inspectors declare for the first time that they have extensive evidence of “past or current undisclosed activities” by Iran’s military to develop a nuclear warhead.

The report also concludes that some Iranian weapons-related activity apparently continued “beyond 2004,” contradicting an American intelligence assessment published in 2008 that concluded that work on a bomb was suspended at the end of 2003.

January 2010

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in 2011. Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Leaked Gates Memo on U.S. Policy

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warns in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability.

When the memo becomes public in April, Mr. Gates issues a statement saying that he wishes to dispel any perception among allies that the administration had failed to adequately think through how to deal with Iran.

September 2009

Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and President Obama, in Pittsburgh, accused Iran of building a secret nuclear fuel plant.Doug Mills/The New York Times

Warning on Nuclear ‘Deception’

American, British and French officials declassify some of their most closely held intelligence and describe a multiyear Iranian effort, tracked by spies and satellites, to build a secret uranium enrichment plant deep inside a mountain.

The new plant, which Iran strongly denies is intended to be kept secret or used for making weapons, is months from completion and does nothing to shorten intelligence estimates of how long it would take Iran to produce a bomb. American intelligence officials say it will take at least a year, perhaps five, for Iran to develop the full ability to make a nuclear weapon.

April 8, 2009

U.S. Joins Regular Iran Talks

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces that the United States will participate in talks with Iran involving five other nations: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.

July 19, 2008

The negotiators Saeed Jalili of Iran, left, and William J. Burns, third from right, in Geneva. Pool photo by Denis Balibouse

Talks End in Deadlock

International talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions end in deadlock despite the Bush administration’s decision to reverse policy and send William J. Burns, a senior American official, to the table for the first time.

Iran responds with a written document that fails to address the main issue: international demands that it stop enriching uranium. Iranian diplomats reiterate before the talks that they consider the issue nonnegotiable.

2008

U.S. – Israel Cyberattacks Begin

President George W. Bush rejects a secret request by Israel for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wants for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The Bush administration is alarmed by the Israeli idea to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz and decides to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Mr. Bush will hand off the major covert program to President Obama.

The United States works with Israel to begin cyberattacks, code-named Olympic Games, on computer systems at the Natanz plant. A year later, the program is introduced undetected into a controller computer at Natanz. Centrifuges begin crashing and engineers have no clue that the plant is under attack.

December 2006

First Round of U.N. Sanctions

The Security Council unanimously approves sanctions intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The sanctions ban the import and export of materials and technology used in uranium enrichment and reprocessing and in the production of ballistic missiles.

Aug. 26, 2006

The heavy-water plant in Arak, south of Tehran.Iran/Reuters

Iran Opens a Heavy-Water Reactor

Just days before Iran is supposed to suspend enrichment of uranium or face the prospect of sanctions, President Ahmadinejad formally kicks off a heavy-water production plant in Arak, 120 miles southwest of Tehran, which would put Iran on the path to obtaining plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear weapons.

In November, Iran seeks international assistance to ensure safe operation for a 40-megawatt reactor it is building. Citing broader doubts about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the United Nations atomic agency, the United States and European countries oppose offering help.

January 2006

A satellite image of Natanz in 2007.GeoEye/SIME, via Associated Press

Natanz Production Is Restarted

Iran resumes uranium enrichment at Natanz after negotiations with European and American officials collapse.

The I.A.E.A. approves a resolution to report Iran’s nuclear program to the Security Council, citing “the absence of confidence” among the atomic agency’s members “that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

Aug. 3, 2005

President Ahmadinejad offended Israel in his speech on the rule of law at a United Nations conference in 2012. Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

Ahmadinejad Elected President

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known only as a secular conservative and a former mayor of Tehran, becomes president. He becomes a divisive figure in world affairs, cheering on the development of Iran’s nuclear program despite orders from the United Nations Security Council to halt it, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map’’ and describing the Holocaust as “a myth.”

Mid-July, 2005

With Laptop Files, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims

Senior American intelligence officials present the International Atomic Energy Agency with the contents of what they say is a stolen Iranian laptop containing more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments — studies for crucial features of a nuclear warhead.

Intelligence reports reveal that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a little-known Iranian scientist, leads elements of Iran’s weaponization program known as Project 110 and Project 111.

But doubts about the intelligence persist among some experts, in part because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a source in Iran who they said had received it from a second person, now believed to be dead.

Nov. 7, 2004

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi talking to reporters in Tehran ahead of nuclear talks in Paris. Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency

Violation and New Agreement

Iran violates the agreement, charging that the Europeans reneged on their promises of economic and political incentives. After 22 hours of negotiations, an Iranian delegation and senior officials from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union come to a preliminary agreement to immediately suspend Iran’s production of enriched uranium. The Iranian foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, praises the so-called Paris Agreement but emphasizes that any suspension will be temporary.

In a few weeks, the I.A.E.A verifies Iran’s suspension of its enrichment activities, with one exception: its request to use up to 20 sets of centrifuge components for research and development.

2003

An Iranian missile displayed by the Revolutionary Guards under a portrait of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, in September 2003. Henghameh Fahimi/Agence France-Presse

Nuclear Program Is Suspended

Possibly in response to the American invasion of Iraq, which was originally justified by the Bush administration on the grounds that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, Ayatollah Khamenei orders a suspension of work on what appear to be weapons-related technologies, although he allows uranium enrichment efforts to continue.

Inspectors with the United Nations atomic agency find traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, and Iran concedes to demands, after talks with Britain, France and Germany, to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites and to suspend production of enriched uranium.

2002

Discovery of Secret Plants

Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian dissident group also known as the M.E.K., obtains and shares documents revealing a clandestine nuclear program previously unknown to the United Nations.

The program includes a vast uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water plant at Arak. In December, satellite photographs of Natanz and Arak appear widely in the news media. The United States accuses Tehran of an “across-the-board pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” but takes relatively little action because it is focused on the approaching invasion of Iraq the next year.

Iran agrees to inspections by the I.A.E.A. It also signs an accord with Russia to speed up completion of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

May 1999

Mohammad Khatami in 2009. Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press

Proposal for Nuclear-Free Mideast

President Mohammad Khatami of Iran goes to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first Iranian leader since 1979 to visit the Arab world.

He issues a joint statement with King Fahd expressing concerns about Israel’s nuclear weapons program and support for ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. In 2003, Iran supports such a proposal initiated by Syria.

July 1996

President Bill Clinton addressing reporters in July 1996. Joe Marquette/Associated Press

Sanctions Against Iran and Libya

With growing intelligence estimates that Iran may secretly be trying to build a nuclear weapon, President Bill Clinton signs a bill imposing sanctions on foreign companies with investments in Iran and Libya. Such rules are already in place for American companies.

Jan. 8, 1995

A Russian engineer checking equipment at the Bushehr nuclear plant in April 2007.Behrouz Mehri/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iran and Russia Sign Nuclear Contract

Iran announces that it will sign an $800 million contract with Russia to complete construction on one of two light water reactors at the Bushehr nuclear plant within four years. After many delays, the project was completed in 2010.

The United States has been persuading countries like Argentina, India, Spain, Germany and France to prohibit the sale of nuclear technology to Iran’s civilian program.

June 4, 1989

The body of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was displayed to hundreds of thousands of Iranians at his funeral.Agence France-Presse

New Supreme Leader

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s nominal president for eight years, becomes supreme leader after Ayatollah Khomeini dies.

Late 1980s

The Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan in Islamabad in 1988.B.K.Bangash/Associated Press

Help From Pakistani Scientist

In the late 1980s, Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist and the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, sells Iran, North Korea and Libya his uranium enrichment technology, and in Libya’s case, a bomb design. The transactions do not become public until years later.

In 2005, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency is on the verge of reviewing Tehran’s nuclear program when Iranian officials admit to a 1987 meetingwith Dr. Khan’s representatives. But Tehran tells the agency that it turned down the chance to buy the equipment required to build the core of a bomb.

1984

Iraqi gunners used a Soviet 130-milllimeter field gun to shell the Iranian cities of Abadan and Khurramshahr.United Press International

Nuclear Program Restarts

The Iran-Iraq war, from 1980 to 1988, changes Iran’s thinking about the nuclear program. With Saddam Hussein pursuing a nuclear program in Iraq, Ayatollah Khomeini secretly decides to restart Iran’s program and seeks the assistance of German partners to complete the construction at Bushehr, which was damaged by bombs during the war.

Feb. 11, 1979

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini descending from the Air France plane that returned him to Tehran after 15 years in exile.United Press International

Khomeini Comes to Power

Prime Minister Bakhtiar is overthrown by followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, an exiled cleric, after bloody clashes in Tehran.

The new leader is uninterested in the nuclear program and ends the shah’s effort. Many nuclear experts flee the country.

Any nuclear cooperation between Iran and the United States breaks down completely with the American Embassy hostage crisis from November 1979 until January 1981.

Jan. 16, 1979

The deposed shah, with Empress Farah and two of their children, in the Bahamas in 1979, where they dodged questions from photographers. Associated Press

Shah Flees

The shah is overthrown and flees the country, in what becomes known as the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Prime Minister Shahpur Bakhtiar takes over and cancels the $6.2 billion contract for the construction of two nuclear power plants at the Bushehr complex.

The United States retracts a deal it had made with Iran a year earlier and stops supplying enriched uranium for the Tehran research reactor.

1973

The Bushehr nuclear plant on Aug. 21, 2010, as its first fuel rod was loaded. Getty Images

Creation of Atomic Energy Body

The shah creates the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which conducts training for its personnel and nuclear deals with countries including the United States, France, West Germany, Namibia and South Africa. By training engineers in Iran and abroad, the country gains a solid understanding of nuclear technologies and capabilities.

A year later, Kraftwerk Union, a West German company, agrees to construct two light water reactors to produce nuclear energy at the Bushehr complex, 470 miles south of Tehran. Construction begins in 1974 but the contract is not signed until 1976.

By the late 1970s, the United States becomes worried that Iran may harbor nuclear weapon ambitions.

July 1, 1968

Iran Signs Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

With the American-provided research reactor running, starting in 1967, Iran becomes one of 51 nations to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, agreeing to never become a nuclear-weapon state.

1950s

Nuclear Program Begins

Iran begins a civilian nuclear program in the 1950s, led by Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who reaches a deal through the Eisenhower administration’s Atoms for Peace program. Under the agreement, the United States agrees to provide a nuclear research reactor in Tehran and power plants.

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Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

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Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

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Story 1: What a Difference A Day Makes — April Fools Day Celebrates Kerry and Obama Negotiations With The Mad Mullah Terrorists of Islamic Republic of Iran — I who have nothing — Just Walk Away — Breakaway — Dance With The One That Brought You — Videos

kerry leaves talksUS-america-Iran-paintingiran_nuclear_facilities iran_nuclear_facilities_israel_strike_2009_reutersfordowiran-underground-nuclear-facilities-FordowIran-nuclear-bunkersFix Edited Files : 2.
United_States_ready_to_use_bunker_buster_bomb_against_Iran_nuclear_facilities060409-nuclear-strikes-iran_telegraphFordow Fuel Enrichment Plant

 Wow! Angelina Jordan (8): “What a Difference a Day Make”

Exclusive Sen Tom Cotton says Iran is calling the shots

America’s Forum | Col. Derek Harvey discusses the Iran nuclear negotiations

Amb. John Bolton • “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran” • 3/30/15 •

More delays as U.S. and Iran struggle to reach nuclear agreement

What Nuclear Negotiations With Iran Mean | Long Story Short | NBC News

Is Iran the new North Korea? Lessons from the Agreed Framework

US faces calls to ‘walk away’ from Iran talks

Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Deadline; U.S. Threatens to Walk Away

January 2014 Breaking News Mounting evidence suggests Israeli strike on Iran approaching

Could Israel Take Out Iran’s Nuclear Sites? Experts Say Perhaps, But….

Raid on the Reactor !

Is the US getting anywhere with Iran nuclear talks?

Israeli reaction to US Iran nuclear negotiations

Iran – Nuclear negotiations waste of time says Saudi Arabia

Published on Jul 12, 2012

Negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program is a “waste of time” and it should be pushed forward towards time-limited talks says Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Fisal

News and Info on the Israel-Saudi pact aimed against “the evil” Iran/ Saudi Arabias nuclear ambitions

Beside the Israel-Saudi Arabia agreement on flyover rights and ground-supply for Israel Air- and Specialforces in case of a possible attack on iranian nuclear-facilities, the really scary thing, which should concern everybody whos against nuclear proliferation, is the fact that that the nasty Saudi Kingdom is deeply involved in the nuclear program of the Al-Qaida terrorist-breeding facility called Pakistan……Saudi Arabia payed nearly half of its costs and it seems in return the Saudis might get a shipment of nuclear warheads derived from the pakistani-nuclear program.

Tom Jones I Who Have Nothing

Just Walk Away – South Park

{youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKxUfdv_U00]

just walk away

Walk Away Renee – The left Banke

Kelly Clarkson – Walk Away

Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway

Shania Twain – Dance With The One That Brought You

help

Why Obama chose the Iran talks to take one of the biggest risks of his presidency

By Greg Jaffe

Much of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda has been foisted upon him during his six years in office. He inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which he’s been able to end. He’s had to react to chaos in the Middle East and a Russian incursion in Ukraine.

The negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program are different. They are Obama’s choice, and he’s fought to keep them moving forward since the beginning of his presidency despite setbacks and second-guessing from Republicans, fellow Democrats and longtime foreign allies.

The latest setback came when the White House agreed to suspend its self-imposed March 31 deadline for an agreement with Iran and keep talking in the hope that remaining differences might soon be resolved. Significant gaps, however, remained.

The president’s desire to keep negotiating reflects both the importance he has placed on the talks and his particular view of how American leadership, persistence and engagement with determined enemies can change the world.

Obama often talks about moments in which American leadership can “bend the arc of human history.” An Iran accord represents exactly such an opportunity, as well as one of the most risky foreign policy gambles of his presidency.

The talks revolve around an issue — nuclear proliferation — that has been a major focus for Obama since he first arrived in Washington. As a senator, he called for a world without nuclear weapons. As president, his first foreign policy speech focused on the dangers that a terrorist group, such as al-Qaeda, might someday acquire a nuclear bomb.

“If we believe that the spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable,” he told a crowd of thousands in Prague’s main square, “then in some ways we are admitting to ourselves that the use of a nuclear weapon is inevitable.”

The Iran negotiations also reflect Obama’s abiding belief that the best way to change the behavior of hostile governments with spotty human rights records isn’t through isolation or the threat of military force, but persistent engagement. In recent years, Obama has pushed to open up trade and diplomatic relations with countries such as Cuba and Burma.

“He believes the more people interact with open societies, the more they will want to be part of an open society,” said Ivo Daalder, Obama’s former NATO ambassador and head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Iran, a longtime enemy and sponsor of some of the world’s most potent militias and terror groups, is the biggest and boldest test of Obama’s theory. “It’s not like we are all waking up in a cold sweat worried about Burma and Cuba,” said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Biden and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “This is the crown jewel of six years of diplomatic effort, and the president has worked it.”

Even if the United States and its allies secure a deal with Iran, the accord could backfire. Iran could cheat, although evading intrusive inspections will be difficult for the Islamic republic, said White House officials. If U.S. allies, such as Saudi Arabia, think that the accord doesn’t do enough to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, they could start their own program, triggering an arms race in one of the most dangerous and unstable regions of the world.

The most immediate concern is that an emboldened Iran will use the financial windfall that comes with the easing of economic sanctions to boost support to its proxy militias in a region that’s already being torn to pieces by sectarian war.

Obama has acknowledged those risks but insists that the alternatives to an Iran deal — tighter sanctions or military strikes — would be much worse. As the negotiations have progressed, Obama has become more personally involved in the talks, said current and former aides. He can describe in minute detail the number and type of centrifuges that Iran would be allowed to retain under a deal.

In public comments, he often has put the chances of striking an accord at less than 50 percent. Privately, aides said, he has demanded briefings on every minor setback and reversal.

His personal involvement demonstrates how important the negotiations have become to his presidency.

Obama and senior aides have bemoaned the tendency in Washington to look first to the military to solve America’s most vexing foreign policy problems. “The debates around the Middle East don’t seem to recognize that the Iraq war took place,” said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to the president. There continues to be “an instinctive reach for military solutions as the only sign of America’s seriousness,” he said.

The Iran negotiations, for Obama, offer a new model. The talks have played down threats of U.S. military force and instead placed a heavy emphasis on American diplomacy and statecraft. The United States has acted as part of a broad international coalition that includes Russia and China, a change from an earlier era in which Obama insisted the United States had too often ignored its allies and tried to go it alone.

The negotiations are also personal for the president. Obama was dismissed as dangerously naive in 2007 by then-candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton for suggesting that he would engage in “aggressive personal diplomacy” with Iran. More recently, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress, where the Israeli leader leveled the same charge. Netanyahu’s speech infuriated the White House. Two weeks later, 47 Republicans sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders saying that they would seek to undo any agreements that the administration and its partners reached with Tehran.

“There’s a determination to prove the Republicans wrong,” said Smith, “and to prove the world wrong.”

A successful accord with Iran also would give credence to Obama’s core belief that the United States must be open to negotiations with its enemies. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Obama said it was a “disgrace” that the Bush administration hadn’t done more to talk with America’s enemies in the Middle East. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them — which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration — is ridiculous,” he added.

In Iran, Obama has chosen to negotiate with one of America’s biggest and most destabilizing enemies. Iranian money, weapons and combat advisers have helped President Bashar al-Assad cling to power in Syria. In Lebanonand Yemen, Iranian-backed militias have sown unrest against U.S. allies. Iran’s support has helped Hamas launch deadly attacks on Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.

Although Iran is working alongside the United States in Iraq to destroy Islamic State insurgents, Iranian-backed militias were responsible for some of the deadliest attacks on U.S. troops prior to 2011.

It is Iran’s potential as a stabilizing force in the region that gives it such allure. “They’re a big sophisticated country with a lot of talent,” Obama said in an interview with the New York Times in the summer. Even a moderately less threatening Iran could pay big dividends at a time when the Middle East’s post-World War I order is coming apart.

“With all this turmoil in the Arab world, you need a workable relationship with the other side,” said Shawn Brimley, a former director for strategic planning in the White House. “You can’t argue with Iran’s importance in the region. That’s why Obama is taking this extremely seriously.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/why-obama-chose-the-iran-talks-to-take-one-of-his-presidencys-biggest-risks/2015/04/01/403b7a06-d7af-11e4-ba28-f2a685dc7f89_story.html

Iran Nuclear Talks Miss Deadline

U.S. says enough progress made to merit staying until Wednesday

By LAURENCE NORMAN

Nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers crashed through another deadline on Tuesday, casting doubt about whether the two sides can reach a final deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

In the early morning hours Wednesday, there were some signs of progress toward building a framework outlining elements of a final nuclear deal to be reached by June 30. “We’ve made enough progress in the last days to merit staying until Wednesday,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “There are several difficult issues still remaining.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also said work would resume on Wednesday morning. “I hope that we can finalize the work on Wednesday and hopefully start the process of drafting,” Mr. Zarif said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. The parties would try to finalize a text later on Wednesday, she added.

But people involved in the talks have said many tough details would still be left over even if a framework agreement is reached.

The two big sticking points were the timetable for lifting United Nations Security Council sanctions on Iran and the question of what nuclear work Tehran would be permitted to do in the final years of an agreement. Late Tuesday night, diplomats said some inroads had been made but differences on these points remained.

Still the Obama administration was forced to accede to the third delay in less than a year in the talks, stoking new criticism from Congress about the direction of the White House Iran policy.

The deadline has been seized on by U.S. lawmakers who have warned that they would push for fresh sanctions legislation on Iran if a framework agreement isn’t reached on time.

Many lawmakers—Republicans and Democrats—believe the terms of the deal won’t go far enough in preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Senate Republicans are pushing legislation in April that would give Congress the power to approve, amend or kill any deal announced by the Obama administration.

“The decision to extend the nuclear negotiations in the face of Iranian intransigence and duplicity proves once again that Iran is calling the shots,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.). Mr. Cotton penned a letter to Iran’s leadership in March, signed by 47 Republican senators, that said Congress had the power to overrule any agreement signed by the White House.

U.S. officials and other senior Western diplomats have said in the past few days that with Congress out on recess, they had a few days more political space to hammer out the details.

The talks have encountered few successes since they began in early 2014.

Negotiators failed to meet two deadlines in July and November last year, setting Tuesday as the final day to reach a framework of an agreement and the end of June as the deadline for a comprehensive deal.

President Barack Obama in February said he saw little point to any further delays.

An Iranian diplomat told state-run television on Tuesday that some progress had been made on the sanctions issues.

“We don’t want an agreement at any price. We want to guarantee the Iranian people’s honor and rights…Our goal is this. Time won’t stop us,” said the senior negotiator, Hamid Baeedinejad.

The U.S. and its European partners at the talks have long said Iran would only win phased sanctions relief with some U.N. restrictions on nuclear-related trade remaining in place. However, Iran was pushing for sanctions relief up front.

Iran was also doubling down on its insistence that after 10 years, it would have no tight restrictions on its nuclear program, including its research work, Western diplomats said. U.S. and European officials have said some of those constraints must stay in place.

After an official said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius could leave early Wednesday morning, a senior U.S. official said there was no discussion of giving Iran an immediate ultimatum to make concessions or end the diplomacy.

The Obama administration has made an Iranian nuclear agreement its main foreign-policy goal, hoping both to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and thaw the deeply hostile relationship between the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

However, over the past 18 months, as the diplomacy heated up, the U.S. and its partners have dropped a number of conditions they once set for a deal.

As the diplomacy has dragged on, skepticism has risen in Washington and elsewhere that a strong deal can be reached.

Critics of the diplomacy say the U.S. and other powers have accepted terms that will embolden Iran in regional power struggles and do little over time to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Fueling that debate will be the many questions an agreement will leave unanswered.

U.S. officials have said the deal is a good compromise which will meet its central goal of blocking any of Iran’s paths to an atomic weapon.

Western officials say they believe they can achieve their central demand that Iran will be at least a year away from amassing enough nuclear fuel for a bomb for at least a decade.

Missing Tuesday’s deadline has no automatic consequences for the talks. The interim agreement reached in November 2013 remains in effect until the end of June.

At various points in the past decade, the negotiations have appeared on the brink of collapse, raising the prospect of a military conflict with Iran.

While diplomats had appeared confident earlier in the day that a deal could be reached Tuesday, officials described discussions as hard-going as the talks dragged on.

A German delegation official said the negotiations had been very tough.

“Whether it will succeed remains open,” said the official.

—Jay Solomon in Washington and Asa Fitch in Dubai contributed to this article.

Corrections & Amplifications

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the sides reached an agreement in principle, according to his spokeswoman. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said it was his spokesman.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-foreign-minister-to-return-to-iran-nuclear-talks-1427783300

Iran Nuclear Talks Q&A: Objectives and Deadlines

By FELICIA SCHWARTZ

Foreign ministers from major powers kicked off a scheduled day of talks aimed at securing the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by a midnight deadline. Pictured, Secretary of State John Kerry, left, before the opening of the plenary session at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland, on March 31.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Negotiators meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, are working to meet a deadline on Tuesday — give or take — for a nuclear agreement with Iran aimed at resolving more than a dozen years of friction. Here is the latest state of play:

Is Tuesday the big day or not?

It’s a big day because it’s the target date set by Iran and six world powers for a deal. Everybody’s watching to see if they arrive at an agreement by midnight in Switzerland (or 6p.m. Eastern Daylight Time). They could come up short, and they could also try again tomorrow or next week. More on this later.

What’s the objective here?

The U.S. along with its negotiating partners — Germany, the United Kingdom, France, China and Russia — want an agreement that will leave Iran at least a year away from being able to purify enough nuclear fuel to create a bomb. Iran denies that it is pursuing a nuclear weapon and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful civilian purposes, but the West has long suspected that Iran has harbored nuclear weapons ambitions.

Iran has four potential pathways to a bomb: the secret underground facility called Fordow; the Natanz enrichment facility; Arak, a plutonium heavy water reactor; and lastly, a covert path, encompassing clandestine efforts and facilities not on the radar of the U.S. and its negotiating partners.

The world powers want a deal to address these pathways, limit Iran’s nuclear activity, and provide for inspections intrusive enough to tell them what’s going on with Iran’s program. In exchange, the U.S. and five world powers will further ease sanctions on Iran, which have crippled its economy.

So, what’s the deal with the deadline?

The deadline to reach a “framework” — essentially a political agreement that leads to a comprehensive deal — is Tuesday, March 31. But it’s a self-imposed deadline andnegotiators aren’t totally wedded to it. With little to enforce the deadline except a skeptical U.S. Congress, it’s possible that the Tuesday deadline could slip by as much as two weeks, because Congress is on one of its recesses and doesn’t return to Washington until April 13.

U.S. officials, at least, say that they take the Tuesday deadline seriously and want to deliver some sort of framework by then as a sign of progress. Lawmakers, including many Democrats, are itching to introduce and vote on legislation in April that gives them influence over the deal, whether by introducing additional sanctions if the deal falls through or by voting on the final agreement to ensure it passes muster. The White House has threatened to veto these bills. But lately, it has signaled that it’s open to finding some sort way for Congress to weigh in.

Is there a harder deadline?

The deadline for a final agreement, which will include lots of technical details and diplomatic “annexes,” is the end of June. If negotiators reach a framework accord by day’s end Tuesday — or a little later — it would be a signal that they’re on their way to a full-fledged, detailed agreement. But there will be lots more to discuss if they are able to clear this initial hurdle.

What’s left to figure out for Tuesday’s agreement?

There are several main issues that have been under round-the-clock negotiations: how quickly Iran would get relief from the punishing economic sanctions; how rapidly world powers would “snap back” sanctions if Iran reneges; the scope of Iran’s future nuclear activities; and the degree to which international inspectors will be able to access Iran’s nuclear and military sites.

Tuesday’s announcement is expected to outline the broad strokes of the deal, so it’s likely the finer points of these differences will be kicked over to the remaining months of talks.

Will the deal “dismantle” Iran’s nuclear program?

It will not. However, the president has said the effort has prompted Iran to “roll back” its nuclear program. In November 2013, Iran and world powers agreed on a process of negotiations called the “Joint Plan of Action,” or JPOA, that imposed controls on Iran’s uranium enrichment and fuel programs, but did not eliminate them. For agreeing to limits, Iran was given some relief from the sanctions.

What becomes of the nuclear material still in the country?

Under the 2013 “joint plan of action,” the Iranians may only process uranium to low levels of purity, suitable for use in civilian power reactors. Iran has to stop producing medium-level enriched uranium, under the 2013 plan, and must dilute its existing stocks of medium-level uranium or convert it into an oxide that can’t be used for weapons.

Have they done any of that?

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency, Tehran has complied.

Is there any other way of addressing the uranium stockpiles?

Yes. It could ship its stocks to another country — Russia has offered — to be converted into fuel rods for civilian power use. That would be seen as a reassuring step. But over the weekend, an Iranian negotiator seemed to rule out such a step. Whether that’s the government’s final word on that question remains to be seen. In any case, the U.S. says this isn’t the only way that Iran can get rid of its stockpile, citing dilution and conversion as other methods.

Have sanctions been eased already?

Yes, as part of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran has been allowed to recoup $700 million a month, each month, in money held, frozen, overseas. This has been underway basically since early 2014, so Iran has recouped nearly $10 billion in frozen money — along with other funds it has been given access to.

That’s a lot of money!

Yes, but there much more still frozen that Iran would like to get as part of a final deal, up to $130 billion by some estimates.

What makes the West so suspicious of Iran?

The U.S. and its partners have outstanding questions about Iran’s past nuclear work. The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has had little success in a probe of Tehran in addressing these concerns. This is another issue that likely will be kicked into the next phase of talks.

Is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the biggest critic of a deal?

He’s a big one, but has a lot of company among Obama administration critics at home and abroad. A veto-proof majority of House lawmakers last week sent President Barack Obama a letter warning that they must be convinced a nuclear agreement closes off all pathways to a bomb before they consider voting on legislation to permanently lift sanctions.

Earlier this month, 47 Republican senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.,  sent a letter to Iran’s leaders warning that Congress would have a say in any final accord. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said he will schedule a vote on his bill to give Congress an up-or-down vote on the deal on April 14, as soon as Congress returns from its recess. Sens. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) have drafted legislation that would introduce sanctions if the U.S. and Iran don’t reach an accord by the end of June.

Abroad, Israel and the U.S.’s partners in the Persian Gulf are also worried about the nuclear negotiations and the prospect of an emboldened Iran. Mr. Netanyahu didn’t stop after he addressed a full session of Congress in early March to urge them to scuttle a deal. He said Sunday that the agreement being discussed in Switzerland was worse than he had previously feared.

Persian Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, are wary of Iran’s influence in the Middle East and fear a nuclear deal and sanctions relief could embolden Iran to have an even heavier hand in the region.

How long have negotiations with Iran been going on?

This iteration of diplomacy dates to September 2013, when Secretary of State John Kerry met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. In November 2013 came the Joint Plan of Action.

The JPOA was initially set to expire in July 2014, and has been extended twice along with negotiations, this time through June 2015.

Nuclear negotiations with Iran and world powers have gone on in some form or another for over a decade. U.S. diplomacy with Iran appeared to get a fresh start in June 2013, when Hasan Rouhani was elected president of Iran after campaigning on the promise to improve ties with the West. Now, 18 months into this round of talks, officials say they’re closer than ever to an agreement. But it’s still an unknown if they’ll get there.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/03/31/iran-nuclear-talks-qa-objectives-and-deadlines/

Possible Failure of Iran Nuclear Deal Divides U.S., Israel

White House fears collapse of talks would imperil sanctions, while Netanyahu envisions better accord

By GERALD F. SEIB

As profound as the disagreement is between Israel and the U.S. over the substance of the nuclear deal being negotiated with Iran, the two countries disagree just as fundamentally over the consequences of failing to complete such a deal.

In fact, this disagreement is central to the wildly divergent calculations being made by President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The heart of the dispute is simply this: If the talks fail to produce an agreement now, Israel believes the continued pressure of economic sanctions can compel Iran to agree to a much better deal later on. The Obama administration’s fear is that if the U.S. simply walks away from the talks, that could cause the collapse of the sanctions regime—and the end of any real pressure on the Iranians.

This dispute is crucial as negotiations reach their climax this week. After months of diplomatic feints and jabs, the self-imposed deadline for reaching the outlines of a deal arrives Tuesday. And while talks may slip past that point, diplomacy has reached its critical juncture.

As this climactic moment arrives, the Obama administration’s eagerness for a deal is becoming clear. The president and his aides appear to believe a deal can not only curb Iran’s nuclear program short of the ability to produce a weapon, but can open the door to a more productive relationship that reduces broader Iranian misbehavior over time. Israel deeply disagrees on both points, arguing that a deal will only enshrine Iran’s nuclear program and that the desire to preserve such a hard-won agreement will give the U.S. a powerful incentive to look the other way when Iran misbehaves.

All sides agree that the main reason Iran is at the negotiating table in the first place is its desire to win relief from oppressive international economic sanctions in any deal. The dispute between the U.S. and Israel, then, is over whether those sanctions are a perishable commodity.

The administration’s view is that the rest of the world bought into sanctions against Iran in service of diplomacy, not in lieu of it. In other words, the international partners—particularly the more balky ones such as Russia, China and India—agreed to put the heat on Iran precisely to drive forward the negotiations that are under way now, not as some kind of permanent situation.

Indeed, there were great fears, notably in Israel, that an interim nuclear agreement struck with in late 2013—which has frozen some elements of Iran’s nuclear program in place in return for limited sanctions relief while talks continue—would imperil the sanctions regime by opening a crack in it that some nations would then rush through. That hasn’t happened, but U.S. officials doubt that the pressure to stick with sanctions can be sustained forever.

In this view, withdrawing from talks without a deal would give Russia, China India and some European nations a perfect reason to walk away from sanctions, leaving the U.S. and Israel with the worst of all worlds: no negotiated limits on Iran’s nuclear program and no remaining pressure to win them later.

Mr. Netanyahu’s view was encapsulated in his controversial address to a joint meeting of Congress three weeks ago. “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil,” he said.

In the Israeli view, the glue that could keep economic sanctions in place even if talks collapse is a credible military threat against Iran. Other nations so fear the consequences of an American or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities if sanctions collapse that they would stick with the sanctions just to forestall the possibility.

Moreover, Israel believes, the most important and effective economic sanction is the one blocking Iran’s access to the international banking system. That is one the U.S., as the center of the international financial system, has the power to keep in place all by itself, regardless of whether allies agree or not.

And at a time when oil prices are so low, the argument continues, it doesn’t take as much pressure to produce economic pain.

Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment, thinks that, in the end, neither side may be entirely right—or entirely wrong. Allies are more eager to retain good economic ties with the U.S. than with Iran, which means they may hang in with Washington on sanctions, he says. On the other hand, he adds, Iran senses its international isolation slowly easing, so it won’t feel the need to “capitulate” to continued sanctions to avoid a collapse of its regime.

What is clear is that this disagreement lies at the heart of the U.S.-Israeli split as talks reach the finish line.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/possible-failure-of-iran-nuclear-deal-divides-u-s-israel-1427732162

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