United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Iran Nuke Program: ABCs of Issues

In the final weeks before the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal, negotiators from Iran and the world's six major powers continued to work through complex issues. The United States compares negotiations to solving a Rubik’s Cube™, because so many pieces are involved—and moving one moves all the others. (The world’s most popular puzzle has 43 quintillion permutations to solve it so all the colors match on the six faces.)

On April 2, E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued a joint statement announcing that Iran and the world's six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States - had reached an understanding on key parameters for a comprehensive nuclear deal. The White House then released a more detailed fact sheet on the framework. But Iranian officials swiftly criticized the document and disputed some of its details. Sanctions, inspections of military sites, and research on advanced centrifuges became particularly contentious issues as negotiators worked towards a comprehensive deal by June 30.
 
The following are some of the key issues in the Rubik’s Cube of a nuclear deal.
  
INSPECTIONS AND VERIFICATION
 
Any deal will require considerable transparency into the nature and extent of Iran’s civilian nuclear infrastructure, as well as possible past military dimensions of its program. A deal will also involve extensive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of Natanz, Fordow, Arak, centrifuge assembly facilities, uranium mines, research facilities—and possibly other sites—aimed at ensuring that Iran’s program remains solely for peaceful purposes.

It may also cover access to sites suspected of past work on bomb components, such as Parchin military base. And it is likely to require Tehran’s acceptance of the IAEA’s “Additional Protocol,” allowing inspections at both declared and undeclared sites—and maybe other intrusive measures.
 
Following the April 2 announcement, the issue of whether international inspectors would have access to Iran’s military facilities remained a key sticking point. The U.S. factsheet emphasizes that inspectors will be able to access "suspicious sites" anywhere in the country to investigate alleged covert enrichment activities. But Iran strongly opposes enhanced inspections that could potentially include its military sites.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
“A set of measures have been agreed to monitor the provisions of the JCPOA including implementation of the modified Code 3.1 and provisional application of the Additional Protocol. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be permitted the use of modern technologies and will have enhanced access through agreed procedures, including to clarify past and present issues.

Iran will take part in international cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy which can include supply of power and research reactors.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including to Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordow, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies.
  • Inspectors will have access to the supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program. The new transparency and inspections mechanisms will closely monitor materials and/or components to prevent diversion to a secret program.
  • Inspectors will have access to uranium mines and continuous surveillance at uranium mills, where Iran produces yellowcake, for 25 years.
  • Inspectors will have continuous surveillance of Iran’s centrifuge rotors and bellows production and storage facilities for 20 years. Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing base will be frozen and under continuous surveillance.
  • All centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure removed from Fordow and Natanz will be placed under continuous monitoring by the IAEA.
  • A dedicated procurement channel for Iran’s nuclear program will be established to monitor and approve, on a case by case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of 3 certain nuclear-related and dual use materials and technology – an additional transparency measure.
  • Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol of the IAEA, providing the IAEA much greater access and information regarding Iran’s nuclear program, including both declared and undeclared facilities.
  • Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake production facility anywhere in the country.
  • Iran has agreed to implement Modified Code 3.1 requiring early notification of construction of new facilities.
  • Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program.
 
SANCTIONS
 
The United States, United Nations, and European Union have imposed an escalating series of sanctions on Iran over the years related to its controversial nuclear program. The timing of sanctions removal remained an area of dispute following the April 2 announcement. Iranian officials called for immediate and permanent sanctions relief in exchange for scaling back its nuclear capabilities. But U.S. officials claimed that lifting sanctions would happen gradually, and they could be “snapped back into place” if Iran violates the terms of the agreement.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
“The EU will terminate the implementation of all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions and the US will cease the application of all nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions, simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation by Iran of its key nuclear commitments.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments.
  • 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.
  • The architecture of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be retained for much of the duration of the deal and allow for snap-back of sanctions in the event of significant non-performance.
  • All past UN Security Council resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue will be lifted simultaneous with the completion, by Iran, of nuclear-related actions addressing all key concerns (enrichment, Fordow, Arak, PMD, and transparency).
  • However, core provisions in the UN Security Council resolutions – those that deal with transfers of sensitive technologies and activities – will be re-established by a new UN Security Council resolution that will endorse the JCPOA and urge its full implementation. It will also create the procurement channel mentioned above, which will serve as a key transparency measure. Important restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles, as well as provisions that allow for related cargo inspections and asset freezes, will also be incorporated by this new resolution.
  • A dispute resolution process will be specified, which enables any JCPOA participant, to seek to resolve disagreements about the performance of JCPOA commitments
  • If an issue of significant non-performance cannot be resolved through that process, then all previous UN sanctions could be re-imposed.
  • U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.

 

CENTRIFUGES

Since 2002, Iran has built centrifuges to enrich uranium, which can fuel both peaceful energy and deadly bombs. Tehran claims it is only for medical research and energy. But Iran’s abilities far exceed its current needs; Russia provides fuel for Iran’s single nuclear reactor.

Iran now has about 19,000 centrifuges—up from less than 200 a decade ago. The vast majority of these are first-generation “IR-1” centrifuges, but Iran has begun installing much more sophisticated “IR-2” models. About 10,000 are enriching uranium at Iran’s two enrichment facilities, Natanz and Fordow; the rest are installed but not operating.
 
Zarif and Mogherini’s statement offered few specifics on reducing the number of Iran’s centrifuges or limiting research and development. But the White House fact sheet indicated Iran will be capped at just over 6,000 IR-1 centrifuges. Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization head Ali Akbar Salehi, however, reportedly told the Iranian parliament that Iran would begin operating IR-8 centrifuges, an advanced model that enriches uranium at a faster rate.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
“Iran's research and development on centrifuges will be carried out on a scope and schedule that has been mutually agreed.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will go from having about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only 5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10 years. All 6,104 centrifuges will be IR-1s, Iran’s first-generation centrifuge.
 
ENRICHMENT
 
Uranium enriched to 90 percent is the purest form to fuel a weapon. Prior to the November 24 “Joint Plan of Action” (JPOA) interim nuclear deal, Iran was enriching up to 20 percent level; under the JPOA, enrichment has been temporarily capped at five percent or less.

A final deal could seek to limit enrichment to five percent or less. The White House fact sheet indicated that Iran would be required to refrain from enriching uranium over 3.67 percent for 15 years.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini, April 2
 “Iran's enrichment capacity, enrichment level and stockpile will be limited for specified durations.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years.
  • All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage and will be used only as replacements for operating centrifuges and equipment.
  • Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
  • Iran’s breakout timeline – the time that it would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon – is currently assessed to be 2 to 3 months. That timeline will be extended to at least one year, for a duration of at least ten years, under this framework.
          
STOCKPILE
 
The larger the stockpile of uranium gas, the faster Iran could produce fuel for a bomb. Iran had 447 kg of uranium enriched at 20 percent before the interim deal went into effect in January. It has since begun “neutralizing” its 20 percent stockpile by diluting 104 kg to 3.5 percent enriched uranium and converting another 287 kg into uranium oxide powder.

A deal could seek to limit the stockpile of 5 percent enriched uranium and require Iran to further reduce its stockpile of 20 percent uranium in oxide form. Iran may be allowed to keep some for research, but not enough to quickly build a bomb.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
Iran's enrichment capacity, enrichment level and stockpile will be limited for specified durations.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years.
 
 
NATANZ
 
Iran’s primary enrichment facility includes three underground buildings, two of which are designed to hold 50,000 centrifuges, and six buildings built above ground.

A deal will try to limit the program at Natanz. Zarif and Mogherini’s statement did not mention Natanz other than to clarify that it will be the only remaining enrichment facility. The White House fact sheet laid out more specific limits on enrichment and research at Natanz.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
“There will be no other enrichment facility than Natanz.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation (IR-1 models) centrifuges at Natanz for ten years, removing its more advanced centrifuges.
  • Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for ten years.
  • Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years. Iran will engage in limited research and development with its advanced centrifuges, according to a schedule and parameters which have been agreed to by the P5+1.
  • For ten years, enrichment and enrichment research and development will be limited to ensure a breakout timeline of at least 1 year. Beyond 10 years, Iran will abide by its enrichment and enrichment R&D plan submitted to the IAEA, and pursuant to the JCPOA, under the Additional Protocol resulting in certain limitations on enrichment capacity.
 
FORDOW
 
The smaller, underground enrichment facility near Qom includes two halls; each could hold 1,500 centrifuges. Iran claims Fordow is to enrich uranium up to 20 percent— only for research. But skeptics contend the deeply-buried site, designed to survive aerial bombardment, is intended to take 20 percent enriched material from Natanz and enrich it to higher levels for use in a nuclear weapon.

A deal will try to end enrichment activities at Fordow. Both the Zarif and Mogherini statement and the White House fact sheet suggested it will be converted to a research-only facility.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
“Fordow will be converted from an enrichment site into a nuclear, physics and technology centre. International collaboration will be encouraged in agreed areas of research. There will not be any fissile material at Fordow.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years.
  • Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow facility so that it is used for peaceful purposes only – into a nuclear, physics, technology, research center.
  • Iran has agreed to not conduct research and development associated with uranium enrichment at Fordow for 15 years.
  • Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years.
  • Almost two-thirds of Fordow’s centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed. The remaining centrifuges will not enrich uranium. All centrifuges and related infrastructure will be placed under IAEA monitoring.
 
ARAK
 
The small heavy-water reactor, begun in the 1990s, is unfinished. Iran claims it is to produce medical isotopes and thermal power for civilian use. But the design would also produce plutonium that, if chemically reprocessed, could provide an alternative fuel to uranium for an atomic bomb. Nine kilograms of plutonium is enough material to fuel one or two nuclear weapons. After completion, Arak would need to run for 12 to 18 months to generate that much plutonium.

A deal will try to close Arak or redesign it in a way to substantially reduce plutonium output. A deal will also try prohibit Iran from building a reprocessing facility. On April 2, negotiators agreed to redesign the facility so that it is no longer capable of producing weapons grade plutonium.
 
Joint Statement by Zarif and Mogherini
“An international joint venture will assist Iran in redesigning and rebuilding a modernized Heavy Water Research Reactor in Arak that will not produce weapons grade plutonium. There will be no reprocessing and the spent fuel will be exported.”
 
White House fact sheet
  • Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak, based on a design that is agreed to by the P5+1, which will not produce weapons grade plutonium, and which will support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production.
  • The original core of the reactor, which would have enabled the production of significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, will be destroyed or removed from the country.
  • Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the reactor’s lifetime.
  • Iran has committed indefinitely to not conduct reprocessing or reprocessing research and development on spent nuclear fuel.
  • Iran will not accumulate heavy water in excess of the needs of the modified Arak reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy water on the international market for 15 years.
  • Iran will not build any additional heavy water reactors for 15 years.
 
 
For more information, see:
 
Photo credits: Rubik's Cube by by Lars Karlsson (Keqs) (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], NuclearEnergy.ir
 

 

Report: Opportunities & Risks for US after Iran Deal

A nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers has the potential to reduce instability in the Middle East, strengthen the global non-proliferation regime and increase U.S. prestige and influence. On the other hand, poor execution and policy choices could lead to a more aggressive Iran on the verge of nuclear weapons by 2025 and a region still plagued by sectarian violence and civil war, according to a new study by the Center for a New American Security. Ilan Goldenberg examines the opportunities and risks for the United States after an Iran deal. The following are key excerpts with a link to the full report.

U.S. objectives in the Middle East and globally will not change after an agreement. Preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons will remain a top priority. The United States will continue to focus on the same core interests in the region: stability, counterterrorism, energy supply, and defense of regional partners. Strengthening the global nonproliferation regime and improving American global standing will also remain top priorities.
 
Opportunities and Risks
 
Key Questions
Opportunities
Risks
Will the agreement prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?
• The agreement prevents an overt dash.
• The agreement deters a covert sneak-out.
• Enforcement breaks down and Iran obtains a nuclear weapon.
• Loopholes in the agreement allow
Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
Will Iran moderate or harden?
• Pragmatists use the agreement to wield greater influence.
• Hardliners reassert their influence after the agreement.
Will the agreement help stabilize the Middle East or exacerbate competition?
• The agreement facilitates greater cooperation between the United
States and Iran in Afghanistan and Iraq.
• The agreement leads to intensified competition in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
• Anxious Arab partners respond by going their own way.
• The agreement causes a deep permanent breach with Israel.
Will the agreement strengthen or weaken the non-proliferation regime?
• The agreement sets new norms for successfully deterring and dealing with problem states.
• The agreement weakens the standards of the non-proliferation regime.
• Regional states react by pursuing domestic enrichment programs.
Will the agreement provide more
strategic space for the United States
to focus on other challenges in Asia and Europe?
• The deal provides the United States more time, resources, and flexibility
to devote to key challenges in Asia and Europe;
• More flexibility in the bilateral relationship
with China; and
• Greater economic leverage with
Russia.
• The agreement leads to increased tensions between the United States and Russia.
• China improves its position in the Middle East.
 
Conclusion
 
A nuclear agreement with Iran represents a historic opportunity for the United States, with the potential for tremendous regional, non-proliferation, and geopolitical benefits. But history will not judge the deal based on the piece of paper signed by Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Zarif. The agreement will be the next step in a long and complex process. It is the behavior of the United States, Iran, and the international community over the next 10–15 years and the policy choices and strategy they execute that will determine whether the agreement succeeds in making the world a more secure and prosperous place. The challenges will be immense, but a concerted American strategy that takes advantage of the opportunities the agreement presents while guarding against the risks can go a long way to increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.
 
Click here for the full text.

 

Tags: Reports

Nuke Talks: Latest from Iran, P5+1

Deputy foreign ministers from Iran and the world’s six major powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States – held a new round of talks over Iran’s nuclear program from June 10 to 14 in Vienna. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was recovering from a broken leg at his home in Massachusetts, said he was “hopeful” an agreement could be reached by the June 30 deadline. But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov noted that progress in the talks was “progressively slowing down,” describing the pace as “worrying.” International inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities seemed to be a key sticking point. President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would not allow “its secrets to fall into the hands of others under the guise of implementing the protocol” that would require additional inspections. Talks were set to resume in Vienna on June 17.

The following are excerpted remarks from officials on the talks.
 
Iran
 
President Hassan Rouhani  
 
“No one in the country should have any doubts about the observance of frameworks and red lines in the nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 countries.” 

“After [the conclusion] of the final agreement in the nuclear negotiations, all economic sanctions and [those] against the Central Bank of Iran must be lifted.” 
—June 14, 2015, according to the press 
 
“We will not waste time, but we should also not restrict ourselves to a specific deadline.”
 
“One thing is for certain: Iran will not allow its secrets to fall into the hands of others under the guise of implementing the protocol,” referring to an additional protocol of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that would allow more inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
—June 13, 2015, according to the press
 
"A problem we face on many issues is that when we reach a framework in one meeting, our negotiating partners go back on it in the next meeting.”
 
"If the other side sticks to the framework that has been established, and does not bring new issues into play, I believe it can be solved... But if they want to take the path of brinkmanship, the negotiations could take longer."
 
"What is important to Iran is that, in implementing this protocol, we make it clear to the world that the accusations we have faced about trying to build a bomb are baseless."
—June 13, 2015, according to the press
 
"We are now in a place that no one would have believed two years ago. All P5+1 countries recognise our rights to enrich uranium. Everyone also agreed that the tyrannical, unjustified and inhumane sanctions must be lifted when an agreement is signed. Now there are problems in the talks and those are just simple legal issues that I am hopeful we will overcome.”
—June 14, 2015, according to the press
 
Senior Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati  
 
Based on the stance of the [Islamic] establishment and Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei], inspection of Iran’s military sites is forbidden and no permission will be given to any foreigners, American or otherwise, to inspect our country’s military and sensitive sites. 
 
They [the Westerners] are looking for an excuse to cause inconvenience and [impose] sanctions [on Tehran]. 
 
Those who were bent on bringing our country to its knees through economic isolation will finally be defeated. 
—June 8, 2015 to the press 
 
Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan 
 
"We do not accede to any sanctions, threats and oppression in the (nuclear) negotiations." 
—June 14, 2015, according to the press 
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi
 
"There are streams within the US which don’t want the negotiations to produce results and all their efforts are aimed at stopping the negotiations.”
 
"The main discussions in the negotiations are focused on the issues related to the sanctions, Research and Development (R&D) and the details of both sides' undertakings.”
—June 16, 2015, according to the press 
 
Envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi 
 
"The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize the baseless and void accusations raised under the 'PMD' title." 
 
"We have on various occasions declared that the documents presented for these allegations are forged and we have always informed the Agency (IAEA) of this issue in our meetings." 
 
"We have stated that if the Agency insists on the veracity of its information, then why they do not welcome Iran's offer for visiting the (nuclear) site in Mariwan." 
 
"The Agency report says that Iran has carried out banned activities in Mariwan region, and when we declared that we are ready to take the Agency (inspectors) to that region and provide them with managed access to any point that they like, the Agency shrugged off providing a response." 
 
"And this shows that the Agency has been fed with wrong information." 
—June 12, 2015, according to the press 
 
United States
 
Secretary of State John Kerry
 
“You know, some things have gotten hard. Some things are progressing.”

“It’s hard. It’s a hard negotiation. We haven’t talked to each other in 35 years. There’s huge suspicion. And huge stakes.”
 
When asked whether he was optimistic, he said, “I’ve never said optimistic. I’ve always said hopeful. I’m hopeful.”
 
“Could we get an agreement? For sure. Could it fail? Yes.”
 
“If you don’t get this done on the schedule, then mischief-makers step in everywhere. You have plenty of folks in Iran who would love to not see the deal, hard-liners. . . . You have people here in the United States who don’t want the deal.”
 
“I know sometimes people lob political grenade suggesting there’s not a strategy and this and that,” Kerry said. “I can’t think of a time in history where America’s leadership has been more critical to as many different issues simultaneously as right now.”
—June 13, 2015, in an interview with the Boston Globe
 
"The possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in."

"What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way. That clearly is one of the requirements in our judgment for what has to be achieved in order to have a legitimate agreement. And in order to have an agreement to trigger any kind of material significant sanctions relief, we would have to have those answers."
—June 16, 2015, at a press availability
 
Russia 
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov 
 
The rate of progress... is progressively slowing down. This is very worrying to us because there is very little time before the deadline and we urgently need to enter the final stage.” 
—June 12, 2015 to the press via AFP 
 
"P5+1 and Iran have reached understanding about the future configuration of the heavy-water reactor in Arak, but the sides are still unclear on who will reconfigure the reactor, when, how and with what kind of financing." 
 
"Without answering these questions, we will not be able to move forward towards the final agreements." 
 
"The issue of when ministers can join the negotiations process will be raised at the meeting of the sextet." 
 
"The only acceptable and universal solution of the issue is the Iran-IAEA framework document and the continuation of the discussion on how this document will be used for future agreements which… will give IAEA very large tasks and will put Iran in front of the necessity to solve the issue of access to its objects." 
—June 11, 2015, according to the press 
 
France 
 
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius 
 
If we want to be sure that the accord is solid we need to be able to inspect the sites... We don't yet have this certainty. This is one of the points we are discussing. 

The agreement needs to be verifiable, solid, robust and right now we don't have such a guarantee.” 
—June 11, 2015 to French channel BFMTV and radio station RMC via AFP 
 

Political Cartoons Target Kerry & Zarif

Conservative press outlets in Iran have gone to town with publishing political cartoons on the maladies of Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the two lead negotiators in the nuclear talks. Kerry, who broke his leg in a bicycle crash on May 31 in Switzerland, is recovering from surgery in a Boston hospital. And Zarif reportedly missed a conference in Tehran on June 2 due to back and leg problems that necessitated a hospital visit. Zarif’s back pain, a recurring issue, previously left him a wheelchair during nuclear talks in Geneva in 2013. The following is a roundup of recent cartoons.

Translation:
     Kerry: “I had an accident, why are you in a wheelchair again?”
     Zarif: “I'm following in the footsteps of Takhti [a legendary Iranian wrestler] who wrestled with one hand when his opponent had a broken arm.”
 
******
 
Translation: The red board is labeled “Iran’s red lines.”
 
****** 

Translation:
     Obama: “Hi John! How are the talks going?”
     Kerry: “Don’t worry Barack! We are on the right path (shortly before going off the road).”

 

****** 

Translation: “Oh, Barack, you placed too many complications on the [path] to the [nuclear] deal that it eventually came back to haunt us.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sina Azodi, a research assistant at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, contributed to this roundup.

 

Tags: Offbeat

Latest US Polls on Iran Deal

The following are key findings from recent polls asking Americans about negotiations with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. In most cases, the polls found that the majority of Americans support talks with Iran or, specifically, the blueprint for a deal announced on April 2.

Zogby Research Services

A poll by Zogby Research Services, commissioned by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, found that a plurality of American voters approve of the April 2 framework for a nuclear deal. The following are excerpted results from the poll conducted May 20 to 31, 2015.
 
Do you approve or disapprove of the P5+1 framework agreement with Iran designed to place limits on Iran's nuclear program?
 
Strongly Approve: 11 percent
Somewhat approve: 30 percent
Approve: 41 percent

Somewhat disapprove: 10 percent
Strongly disapprove: 13 percent
Disapprove: 23 percent
 
Not sure/Not enough information: 36 percent
 
Would you support or oppose legislation that would make an Iran agreement subject to congressional approval and oversight?
 
Strongly support: 22 percent
Somewhat support: 30 percent
Support: 52 percent
 
Somewhat oppose: 7 percent
Strongly oppose: 5 percent
Oppose: 13 percent
Not sure: 35 percent
 
Click here for the full results.
 

J Street Poll

On June 10, the pro-Israel group J Street released a poll showing that 59 percent of American Jews — slightly more than the general population* — support a deal with Iran that would lift sanctions in return for Tehran’s acceptance of restrictions on its nuclear program. The following are excerpted results from the survey conducted May 31 – June 3.
 
When Provided More Details, Support Grows
Now, imagine that the U.S., Britain, Germany, France, China, Russia, and Iran reach a final agreement that places significant limits on Iran's nuclear program to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
 
The agreement imposes intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities by international nuclear experts, and it caps the level at which Iran can enrich uranium to far below what is necessary to make a nuclear weapon. In exchange for limiting its nuclear program and agreeing to intrusive inspections, Iran would receive phased relief from U.S. and international economic sanctions, as Iran complies with the terms of the agreement.
 
Would you support or oppose this agreement?
 
Support: 78 percent total (including 26 percent who strongly support)
 
Oppose: 22 percent total (including 8 percent who strongly oppose)
 
Click here for more information.
*According to a CNN/ORC poll conducted in April 2015
 

AP-GfK Poll

A survey conducted by AP-GfK from April 23-27 found that a slight majority of Americans approve of the interim agreement reached by Iran and the world’s six major powers in late 2013. The following are key results:
 
Do you approve, disapprove, or neither approve nor disapprove of the preliminary agreement reached between Iran and six world powers that is designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program?
 
Total approve
54 percent
 Approve
24 percent
 Lean approve
31 percent
Neither —don’t lean
1 percent
Total disapprove
43 percent
 Disapprove
23 percent
 Lean disapprove
20 percent
Refused/Not answered
2
 
As you may know, as part of the preliminary deal Iran agreed to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities, ship plutonium out of the country and shut down almost half of its uranium enriching centrifuges. How confident are you that Iran will follow through with this agreement?
 
Extremely/very confident
3 percent
 Extremely confident
1 percent
 Very confident
2 percent
Moderately confident
25 percent
Not too/Not confident at all
69 percent
 Not too confident
34 percent
 Not confident at all
35 percent
Refused/Not answered
3 percent
 
Click here for the full results.
 
Quinnipiac University National Poll  
 
A majority of American voters support the blueprint for a nuclear deal, according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University conducted April 16-21. The following are key takeaways from the survey’s findings.
 
·  58 percent support the preliminary agreement with Iran to restrict that country’s program while 33 percent do not.
·  35 percent of voters are “very confident” or “somewhat confident” the agreement would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while 62 percent are "not so confident" or "not confident at all.”
·  Supporting the agreement are Democrats 76 - 15 percent and independent voters 60 - 33 percent, with Republicans opposed 56 - 37 percent. 
·  65 percent of voters support making any Iran agreement subject to congressional approval while 24 percent do not.
·  77 percent of voters back a negotiated settlement rather than military intervention to limit Iran’s nuclear program while 13 percent do not.
 
Click here for more information.

 

Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll
 
A plurality of U.S. adults approve of the blueprint for a nuclear deal, according to a poll by Suffolk University and USA Today. The following are key results.
 
  • 46 percent approve of the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program
  • 37 percent disapprove
  • 18 percent are undecided

Click here for more information.
 
Economist/YouGov Poll
 
A new Economist/YouGov poll found that most Americans support the nuclear talks with Iran. The survey, conducted April 4-6, found that 61 percent of respondents believe the United States should negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program.
 
 
But barely a quarter of respondents said they would trust Iran to adhere to an agreement.  
 
Support for the nuclear framework announced on April 2 varied along party lines. Among Democrats, 57 percent support the framework, but only 20 percent of Republicans support it.
 
 
Click here for more information on the poll
 
Reuters/Ipsos Poll
 
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted April 3-7, found that 36 percent of respondents support the preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers. When broken down by party, 30 percent of Republicans support the deal compared to 51 percent of Democrats.
 
 
Support
Oppose
Not sure
Republicans
30 percent
30 percent
40 percent
Democrats
51 percent
10 percent
39 percent
Independents
33 percent
21 percent
45 percent
The poll also found little support for using military force as the sole way to curb Iran's nulcear program. Only 5 percent of Democrats, 11 percent of Republicans, and 6 percent of Independents supported that approach.
 
Click here for more information on the poll
 
NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll
 
A new NBC News/SurveyMonkey Poll, conducted April 6-8, found that the majority of Americans consider Iran’s nuclear program a “major threat.” More than 70 percent of Republicans gave that response, compared to just over 40 percent of Democrats.
 
Iran’s nuclear program is:
All
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Major threat
53 percent
74 percent
41 percent
50 percent
Minor threat
37 percent
23 percent
47 percent
39 percent
Not a threat at all
8 percent
1 percent
11 percent
9 percent
 
Click here for more information on the poll

 

Americans United for Change/Hart Research Poll

A poll commissioned by Americans United for Change, conducted April 6-8, found that 65 percent believe Congress should allow the agreement to move forward and monitor its implementation, while 30 percent believe Congress should take action to block the deal before it is implemented.

 
Congress should:
All
Republicans
Democrats
Independents
Allow agreement to go forward and closely monitor implementation
65 percent
47 percent
82 percent
64 percent
Block the agreement now and prevent implementation
30 percent
48 percent
15 percent
27 percent
 
Click here for more information on the poll
 
Bloomberg Politics Poll
 
Americans are more or less split on whether or not they think the nuclear deal with Iran being negotiated would make the world safer by containing Tehran’s ability to obtain nuclear weapons, according to a new Bloomberg Politics poll conducted April 6-8.
 
“Last week, the U.S. and five other nations struck a tentative deal with Iran. It would lift sanctions that have damaged Iran's economy in exchange for extensive inspections of any nuclear activity in Iran. Final details will be formalized in June. Are you more optimistic or more pessimistic this deal would make the world safer by containing Iran's ability to obtain nuclear weapons?"
 
  • Optimistic: 49 percent
  • Pessimistic: 43 percent
  • Unsure: 8 percent
 
Click here for more information.
 

 

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