MUCH diplomatic work remains to be done, but extraordinary progress has been made toward rolling back Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
Respect what has been accomplished by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, and give the proceedings more time to work out other details.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani treads a fine line between his efforts to relieve crushing European and U.S. economic sanctions against his country, and emphatic voices in Tehran that want the regional status of having a nuclear weapon.
As talks continue, the immediate deal maintains the framework of Iran’s nuclear program, but dismantles links to centrifuges, halts uranium enrichment beyond 5 percent, dilutes material already enriched to 20 percent and forbids the purchase of new centrifuges and upgrades. Work on a nuclear reactor at Arak is stopped. International inspectors will have daily access to two key sites.
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The U.S., Russia, U.K., France and China, plus Germany — known as P5+1 — assisted by a key E.U. diplomat, have to approve elements of the deal. President Obama can lift U.S. sanctions by executive order.
The U.S. is looking at providing relief in the range of $7 billion. U.S. and E.U. sanctions have combined to cover Iranian oil, trade in goods and products from specific industries, and access to international banking. With progress, some sanctions could be eased in the next month or in January.
Ultimately, the onus is on Iran to sign off on restrictions that prevent the nation from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
As a presidential press secretary recounted a conversation between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for reporters on Sunday, the months ahead will be used to “pursue a lasting, peaceful and comprehensive solution that would resolve the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program.”
This effort has drawn bipartisan support from national security officials in past administrations.
A dysfunctional Congress has no constructive role or honest contribution to make with a contrivance of new sanctions to disrupt or slow the process.