Monday evening saw Iran complete all voluntary moves of suspension of its high-enriched uranium reserves, fulfilling the first part of the groundbreaking nuclear agreement the nation entered into, with six other world powers. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the nuclear spokesman for Iran, revealed the nation had stopped enriching its uranium to 20 percent purity and had also taken down the cascades and other equipment that were being used in Natanz to enrich uranium. The historic move was watched over by international inspectors to make sure Iran fulfilled its side of the deal struck on November 24, to qualify for easier sanctions.
The interim agreement and overall nuclear deal
The deal was entered by Iran and six world powers, after days of negotiations in Geneva. The nation agreed to limit its uranium enrichment program and other nuclear activities in exchange for lighter sanctions from the six countries. The six world powers were the P5+1 member nations – the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and China as well as the +1 nation, Germany.
The nuclear deal entered by Iran and the P5+1 nations includes an interim agreement for a trial period of six months. During this period, the six world powers would impose “substantial limitations”, as put by the White House, on Iran that would prevent it from enriching weapons’ grade uranium. As an incentive, the nations would lift some of their economic sanctions on Iran.
What is Iran doing with its uranium them?
At the time of the negotiations, Iran already had stockpiles of 20 percent enriched uranium. Due still 70 percent away form becoming weapon-grade, the stockpile does pose significant security threats to the world. The deal requires Tehran to dilute the 20 percent enriched uranium to below 5 percent, halt all enrichment procedures above five percent and also dismantle all equipments that facilitate further enrichment.
The five percent limit was approved because Iran maintains that it uses five percent enriched uranium for peaceful civilian purposes in its energy reactors.
Uncle Sam and P5+1 partners fulfill their end of the bargain
Jay Carney, White House spokesman made a statement to the press saying the United States as well as all of its P5+1 partners will follow through with their commitment to ease some of the economic sanctions they exercise on Iran. He added that the sanctions would be cut back only modestly. The U.S. and the P5+1 partners will continue to “enforce aggressively” the other sanctions which are not to be cut down, through the same six months.
If Iran successfully fulfills its part of the deal, the six world powers will suspend sanctions on gold and petrochemical exports, among other things. The White House estimates, the ease on sanctions would provide Iran around $1.5 billion in revenue. Iran will be able to provide government funds to its students studying abroad, from funds that were previously restricted by the western nations. The nation is expected to gain $7 billion, considering it has more than $100 billion of its foreign exchange revenue held up in sanctions.