Below, we answer some of the questions we frequently get from supporters and clarify some of the most common misconceptions about the deal. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at [email protected].
Did Iran comply with the nuclear agreement? How do we know?
Prior to Donald Trump’s violation and abandonment of the JCPOA, Iran had taken all the steps that they were required to take in order to block all pathways to developing a nuclear weapon. The core of the Arak plutonium reactor had been removed and filled with concrete. 25,000 pounds of enriched uranium had been shipped out of the country. ⅔ of installed centrifuges had been physically removed. Iran had provided inspectors access to its nuclear facilities and supply chain.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is tasked with monitoring and inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities to ensure that they are complying with the deal – utilizing the unprecedentedly thorough and sophisticated inspections mechanisms and technology that the deal put into place. Prior to Trump’s unilateral violation of the deal, the IAEA had repeatedly certified that Iran was compliant.
Does the deal prevent the US from confronting and sanctioning Iran’s dangerous non-nuclear behaviors?
It is important to note, however, that some proposed pieces of legislation in recent years have aimed to violate or undermine the JCPOA by reimposing key nuclear sanctions under the guise of confronting non-nuclear behavior. That’s a dangerous tactic that we have to watch out for.
What happens after the deal expires or sunsets? Can’t Iran just go back to trying to build a nuclear weapon then?
Specifically, the agreement establishes strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing and deployment in the first 10 years and, after the initial 10 year period, Iran must continue to limit enrichment to a level that is consistent with a peaceful nuclear program. Certain transparency measures will last for 15 years, others for 20 to 25 years and some will last forever, namely its obligations under the IAEA Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.
This deal in no way authorizes, allows or encourages future Iranian nuclear weapons activity, which will always be prohibited under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If Iran ever acts to pursue a nuclear weapon in violation of the agreement, the United States and its allies retain their ability to respond with any number of diplomatic and military options. And thanks to the agreement, America and its partners are now in a better position to thwart any break-out attempt, given the unparalleled understanding and awareness of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure that the deal has already provided.