After eight days of deliberation in Switzerland, on April 2, Iran and six other world powers emerged with the bones of a framework for the stifling of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program. The plan will effectively dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure over the span of 15 years.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei agreed to the plan on the condition that all sanctions against Iran be lifted the day the deal is signed. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insists that the sanctions will be dropped in phases.
While the plan has faced much criticism, President Obama has supported it, saying that he will sign a document which closes all Iranian paths to a nuclear weapon. At the Summit of the Americas, Obama criticized opponents of the deal, pointing at the 47 Republicans in Congress who sent a letter to Iran undermining a nuclear agreement.
In 2013, Iran’s oil minister cited that oil sanctions cost the country between $4 and $8 billion a month. Iran’s currency, the rial, lost two-thirds of its value against the US dollar, and inflation rose to more than 40 percent. Prices of food, basic items and fuel have risen significantly, affecting the daily lives of many Iranians.
UN sanctions on Iran include a ban on the supply of weaponry and nuclear technology, a block on arms exports and an asset freeze on key individuals and companies. The European Union (EU) has imposed further sanctions which include a ban on transactions with Iranian financial institutions and a ban on the purchase of Iranian oil by the EU, which previously accounted for 20 percent of Iran’s oil exports. The US has sanctioned nearly all trade with Iran since the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Iranian president Hassan Rouhani persuaded Khamenei to reach an understanding with the West in order to save Iran from economic collapse.
The nuclear deal will ensure that Iran’s nuclear facilities may only be used for “peaceful” purposes by placing restrictions on nuclear materials production. If the deal is broken, it would take Iran at least a year to produce the necessary nuclear material to create a weapon. No nuclear facilities will be built in Iran under the deal, and current facilities would be redesigned or converted.
bbc.com, nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com