FPI Analysis: What U.S. Officials Required, What the Iran Deal Concedes

By Tzvi Kahn

Foreign Policy Initiative

July 29, 2015

Throughout the nuclear negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration insisted on high standards for a final deal. In speeches, congressional testimony, interviews, and other public statements, U.S. officials articulated specific requirements that would, if implemented, prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

This FPI Analysis, which complements an earlier FPI publication released on June 29, assesses whether the July 14 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), meets the administration’s own stated requirements.
 


CONTENTS

I. Requirements of the Deal

II. Inspections and Enforcement

III. The Types and Timing of Sanctions Relief



I. REQUIREMENTS OF THE DEAL

Dismantling Iran’s Nuclear Infrastructure

What U.S. Officials Required

December 4, 2013: Chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman tells PBS that a final agreement should include “a lot of dismantling of their infrastructure” (emphasis added).

December 10, 2013: “I don’t think that any of us thought we were just imposing these sanctions for the sake of imposing them,” says Secretary of State John Kerry in congressional testimony. “We did it because we knew that it would hopefully help Iran dismantle its nuclear program. That was the whole point of the [sanctions] regime” (emphasis added).

What the Deal Concedes

**********

Iran’s ‘Right’ to Enrich Uranium

What U.S. Officials Required

November 24, 2013: “There is no right to enrich,” Secretary of State John Kerry tells ABC News. “We do not recognize a right to enrich. It is clear, in the — in the NPT, in the nonproliferation treaty, it’s very, very [clear] that there is no right to enrich.”

What the Deal Concedes

**********

The Arak Heavy Water Reactor

What U.S. Officials Required

December 10, 2013: “From our point of view, Arak is unacceptable,” says Secretary of State John Kerry in House testimony. “You can’t have a heavy water reactor.”

April 2, 2015: The U.S. version of the framework agreement with Iran states that Tehran “has committed indefinitely to not conduct reprocessing or reprocessing research and development on spent nuclear fuel” (emphasis added).

What the Deal Concedes

 

**********

The Fordow Enrichment Facility

What U.S. Officials Required

December 7, 2013: “We know that they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordow in order to have a peaceful nuclear program,” says President Obama at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum.

What the Deal Concedes

**********

Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s Nuclear Program

What U.S. Officials Required

February 4, 2014: “We raised possible military dimensions” in the negotiations, says chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman in Senate testimony. “And in fact in the Joint Plan of Action, we have required that Iran come clean on its past actions as part of any comprehensive agreement.”

April 8, 2015: “They have to do it,” Secretary of State John Kerry tells PBS, referring to Tehran’s disclosure of PMD. “It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done.”

What the Deal Concedes

**********

Iran’s Breakout Capacity

What U.S. Officials Required

December 7, 2013: “It is my strong belief,” says President Obama at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, “that we can envision an end state that gives us an assurance that even if they have some modest enrichment capability, it is so constrained and the inspections are so intrusive that they, as a practical matter, do not have breakout capacity.”

What the Deal Concedes

**********

Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

What U.S. Officials Required

February 4, 2014: “So it is true,” says chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman in Senate testimony, “that in these first six months we have not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon, but that is, indeed, going to be part of something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”

What the Deal Concedes

**********

The Role of Congress

What U.S. Officials Required

April 8, 2014: Asked during a Senate hearing whether the Obama administration would consult with Congress about sanctions relief in the event that the P5+1 reaches a final deal with Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry says: “Well, of course, we would be obligated to under the law. … What we do will have to pass muster with Congress. We well understand that.”

July 29, 2014: “President Obama, Secretary Kerry, and the entire administration understand how vital a role Congress and this Committee play in shaping U.S. policy towards Iran,” chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman states in written testimony to the Senate. “We remain committed to regular consultations, to hearing from you, and to sharing ideas.”

What the Deal Concedes



II. INSPECTIONS AND ENFORCEMENT

Anywhere, Anytime Inspections

What U.S. Officials Required

April 6, 2015: “Under this deal, you will have anywhere, anytime 24/7 access as it relates to the nuclear facilities that Iran has,” U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes tells CNN.

April 20, 2015: “We expect to have anywhere, anytime access in the sense of a well-defined process with a well-defined end time for access to places that are suspected of out-of-bounds activities,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz tells Bloomberg News.

What the Deal Concedes

**********

‘Snapback’ Sanctions

What U.S. Officials Required

April 2, 2015: According to the U.S. version of the framework agreement, “U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps. If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.”

What the Deal Concedes



III. THE TYPES AND TIMING OF SANCTIONS RELIEF

The Timing of Sanctions Relief

What U.S. Officials Required

March 3, 2014: “Iran is not open for business until Iran is closed for nuclear bombs,” says Secretary of State John Kerry in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

January 27, 2015: Under a final deal, “the international community would provide Iran with phased sanctions relief tied to verifiable actions on its part,” says Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in Senate testimony.

What the Deal Concedes

**********

Terrorism and Human Rights Sanctions

What U.S. Officials Required

December 12, 2013: “We have said that this agreement pertains only to new nuclear-related sanctions in terms of what we, the European Union and the U.N. Security Council will forego,” says chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman in Senate testimony.

May 1, 2014: “We have made clear that sanctions relating to terrorism and sanctions relating to human rights violations are not covered” under a final deal, says Jake Sullivan, deputy assistant to President Obama and national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, at a conference of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

What the Deal Concedes