United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

An Iran Deal, At Last

Robin Wright (for The New Yorker)

After nineteen days of marathon negotiations and four missed deadlines, Iran and the world’s six major powers announced a nuclear deal in Vienna this morning. The exhaustive and elusive diplomacy—sustained by an unsettling combination of Twizzlers, gelato, string cheese, and Rice Krispies treats—was dicey to the end. Secretary of State John Kerry wasn’t sure that the often volatile talks would succeed, until Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, showed up at Kerry’s working quarters, in Room 103 of the opulent Palais Coburg, just before midnight Monday.

 

Click here to read the full article in The New Yorker.
 

The Final Deal: White House Background Briefing

On July 14, senior administration officials held a background conference call to discuss the final nuclear agreement with Iran. The following are excerpts from the transcript.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’m going to start and then turn it over to my colleague to sort of walk you through at least the top lines on the nuclear elements of this. 

Just to say, since you all have heard me many times before over these almost two years -- more than two years, actually -- this has been like a Rubik’s Cube, and we have been waiting for the pieces to click into place.  And in the early morning hours of the 14th of July in 2015, the last block of the cube clicked into place.  It has been an incredibly arduous, incredibly complex, multilateral effort with partners not only in the P5+1 and the European Union, but throughout the world:  Partners who helped enforce sanctions.  Partners who urged Iran to come to the negotiating table.  Partners who hosted us in the talks.  And even partners who criticized what we were doing, who pressed us to think more about what we were doing, be tougher, be more precise, ensure that we were indeed doing what the President of the United States asked us to do, and that was to close down all the pathways to fissile material for a nuclear weapon, which the President said today is indeed what has occurred in this agreement.
 
In this deal that has been reached, there is a principle of simultaneity in that Iran will take a series of nuclear-related steps to assure the world that its program is exclusively peaceful.  We will do our preparations.  And at the appropriate time when the IAEA has verified that those steps have been taken, we will begin a sanctions-lifting process that will be phased over time.  We have unbelievable and really extraordinary and unprecedented transparency measures to understand what’s happening in Iran’s program, both in terms of its peaceful nature and to ensure there is not a covert process.
 
We have international nuclear cooperation that will help to ensure that partners will be on the ground and will have increased and additional visibility beyond what the IAEA will do for that transparency.
 
This a long-term, durable deal.  There are many phases to it.  Some of the milestones are 10 years, some are 15 years, some are 20, some are 25, and some are forever.  Iran will adopt the Additional Protocol early in this process, and there are additional transparency mechanisms beyond that that have been negotiated.
 
And then the last two points I want to make -- we’ll be introducing, probably as soon as next week, a resolution at the Security Council that is supported by the P5, along with our German colleagues who have been part of the P5+1 process.  That will establish timelines for all of the issues under the U.N. Security Council resolutions.  We are confident that we have kept in place under Article 41 both arms restrictions as well as missile restrictions that will go on for some period of time, as well as a number of other pieces of the puzzle here.
 
And then the last point I want to make is really to endorse what was said at the beginning of this call.  This has been an amazing whole-of-government effort.  The team that we’ve had out here in Vienna, some who have been here for over a month -- I, myself, have been here for 27 long days and long nights; we’re all very, very tired -- is just extraordinary.  It comes from across our government.  It involves all of our laboratories that work in support of Dr. Moniz and our national security team.  The Treasury colleagues, Commerce colleagues, the National Security Council, the Defense Department, the intelligence community.  So for every team member that’s here, there are literally dozens and dozens and dozens -- hundreds of people who have helped to support and validate everything that we are doing here.
 
I couldn’t be prouder of the team.  I couldn’t be more honored to have been here under the leadership of Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz.  And I could not be more grateful to the courage that the President of the United States has taken to give us a chance to do this deal.
 
Negotiating with Iran is tough -- very tough.  There are decades and decades and decades of mistrust.  But through a very, very difficult process, we have come to know each other a little bit better.  We have worked hard to reach these agreements.  It is not perfect for anyone, but we believe it will be durable.  There will be bumps along the way.  There will be problems.  But we -- because this is a very complex deal over many, many years.  But we believe we have the mechanisms in place to snap back sanctions, if there is significant non-compliance, to have access beyond the Additional Protocol through an access agreement to ensure that we know what is going on.
 
So we are confident in the elements of this deal.  We will have to see day by day if we can be confident in the durability of this over time.  But we will have a way to know what is going on, and a unified P5+1 and international community, bolstered by the U.N. Security Council to take action, and by the support, I hope, of the United States Congress who has been essential, as Secretary Kerry said today and as the President said -- essential to getting the sanctions regime that helped get Iran to the negotiating table.
 
So let me stop here and turn it over to my colleague to talk about some of the highlights of this really extraordinary deal that has been struck.
 
Pathways to a Bomb
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I will turn to the issues of -- organize around this idea of blocking various pathways to a weapon might be the easiest the way to organize the discussion.  And the President gave us a very clear set -- organizing principle around the so-called breakout time as defined as time to accumulate the nuclear material required for a nuclear explosive.  I want to emphasize that that is a more descriptive definition than the usual breakout time definition of time to a weapon, which would, of course, add more time.  But the President’s directive was that a one-year breakout time for 10 years was the minimum requirement, and I can assure you that that has been met.
 
So if I just say a little bit about the various pathways.  A lot of this is going to be very similar to what came out of Lausanne on April 2nd, and of course, that's the good news, in a sense, that the Lausanne framework has been preserved, elaborated on, and in fact, expanded. 
 
So, number one, the issue of centrifuges and enrichment, the same fundamental parameters apply as in April:  the 5,000 or so IR-1s in Natanz; the ending of enrichment at Fordow -- very importantly, the restriction of their stockpile of enriched uranium -- enriched first only to 3.67 percent or less, and secondly, only 300 kilograms for 15 years.  And to get a scale, they are now roughly at 10,000 kilograms of uranium -- enriched uranium -- not to mention some additional uranium enriched to 20 percent, all of which must be gone or put into fabricated fuel plates that would not be easily reversed.
 
So that's the core of the uranium approach.  Plutonium -- that is the Arak reactor -- they have agreed that we will redesign that reactor to produce an order of magnitude less plutonium, non-weapons-grade plutonium.  So here, the breakout time, if you like, actually would be many, many years.  So in addition, I should add, we continue to have the obligation on their part to send the plutonium-bearing eradiated fuel out of the country.  So they will not reprocess, but they won't even have the material to reprocess.
Third, of course, is the covert path.  And there -- of course, because up to now I've been discussing their declared nuclear facilities.  There’s a lot more color, as you’ll see in the plan.  But going to the covert pathway, the issue there, of course, is transparency and monitoring.  The Additional Protocol was already mentioned.  That's something that they will implement essentially immediately while -- it may take a little more time to have ratification in their parliament, but they will observe it starting immediately.  And that is a forever commitment in terms of providing the enhanced transparency relative to normal national safeguards agreements with the IAEA.
 
However, we add substantially to that as well.  For one thing, within the -- I should say, for the declared facilities, there is agreement in the deployment of advanced technologies for verification and containment and surveillance.  But in terms of covert, the important thing is that we have measures that go well beyond the Additional Protocol in terms of, on the one hand, going back to the Iranian supply chain, back to the Iranian ore concentrate and tracking that, all the way to having surveillance of things like centrifuge manufacturing, loader manufacturing, et cetera.  So we will have a significant set of tools for verifying their peaceful process.
 
Finally, let me talk about R&D.  In R&D, their program plan is significantly scaled back for this decade to, for example, what are called complete lead centrifuges of more advanced centrifuges than the IR-1.  Those will complete their work and then be taken out entirely.  And their plan for moving forward with even more advanced centrifuges -- IR-6, IR-8 - those are pushed back so that they can only do single machines and small to intermediate cascades in this decade.  And so that's also a major scale-back of their R&D program.
 
So I think, again, that's all in line with Lausanne.  I would just add that there have been additional areas covered since Lausanne.  One of them is, if I may go back to breakout time, again, as I emphasized, we are counting breakout time as only production of material.  However, to actually go to a nuclear explosive, of course, requires other activities, and there, again, we have a declaration that Iran will not pursue a number of activities that would be required to get there.  For example, restrictions on doing any kind of metallurgy with uranium or plutonium; restrictions on not developing certain neutron initiators, which you would want for a nuclear weapon; multipoint detonation systems -- so a whole set of activities will not be pursued.  And of course, this adds to the complexity of any attempt that they might make to go towards a nuclear explosive.
So that's kind of an overview, I think, of blocking the pathways to nuclear weapons.
 
Sanctions
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I want to briefly speak to the three sanctions issues that received the most attention:  First, which sanctions will be relieved as part of this deal and which will not.  Second, how the relief will be phased.  And third, what we are prepared to do in the event of a breach of the JCPOA.
 
The first, as Under Secretary Sherman and others have noted, only when international inspectors are able to verify that Iran has taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that it will not develop a nuclear weapon will we and the international community relieve sanctions. 
 
Not all sanctions are to be lifted.  On the U.S. side, we've agreed to relieve nuclear-related secondary sanctions on Iran.  Generally, what this means is the set of sanctions that have been imposed over the last five years that target foreign actors, not American actors, doing business with Iran, such as those transacting with Iran’s central bank or those who purchased Iranian oil.
 
All of the details are spelled out in Annex 2 of the JCPOA.  But let me be clear about what we will not be relieving.  We are not removing our trade embargo on Iran.  U.S. persons and banks will still be generally prohibited from all dealings with Iranian companies, including investing in Iran, facilitating cleared country trade with Iran.  The only adjustment we will make to those sanctions at the implementation date will be to allow the import of food and carpets from Iran and the export of civilian aircraft and parts to Iran, which has one of the worst airline safety records in the world.
 
In addition, we are not lifting our sanctions that target Iran’s support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah, its regional interventions in Syria or Yemen, or its abuse of human rights back home.  Indeed, we have made clear to Iran that we will continue to impose sanctions aggressively to combat these activities.  And while Iran can expect to see real relief when nuclear-related secondary sanctions are lifted, some entities, including certain Iranian banks and energy firms will still remain off limits because of their past support for terrorism or because they are owned by groups like the IRGC or the Quds Force.
 
A few important points on the timing or phasing of relief.  For those who are focused on sanctions compliance, what was prohibited yesterday remains prohibited today.  All that we have done this morning is to extend the interim measures that have been in place since January 2014.  The first adjustments to our core sanctions will only occur in several -- on what is being called implementation day.  That is, once the IEA confirms that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear steps, we will suspend the nuclear-related secondary measures I was describing.  And only many years later, once Iran has demonstrated that it is living up to its commitments for a significant period of time will those suspended sanctions be terminated.
 
Finally, on snapback, while our focus and expectation in concluding this JCPOA is on successful implementation, we are mindful that Iran may not uphold its side of the deal.  In the event that Iran violates its commitments after we have suspended sanctions, we have the legal authority, the will and the leverage to snap them back.  Reserving that option isn't about planning for failure; to the contrary, it's about maximizing the chances of successful implementation.  We know that the range of international and national-level sanctions on Iran cover a whole range of concerns and threats and intersect in complicated ways. As we move forward, we'll publish clear guidance to ensure that when sanctions relief does come into effect, foreign governments, foreign companies will fully understand the scope of U.S. sanctions, what they prohibit and what they allow.

Questions
 
Q: Can I ask a question about the press’s assertion that this cuts off all avenues or pathways for a nuclear weapon, when, in fact, after 10 years and depending on what happens along the way, there are other pathways?  The criticism has been that it does not completely shut down the nuclear program.  Whether you feel you can respond to people as -- this morning as Netanyahu said this is a historic mistake?
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, first of all, on that last comment, I might note that similar comments were made with the JPOA, and that has proved to be quite successful.  But to get to your main point, clearly the -- first of all, Iran, for the long term, in the NPT and with the Additional Protocol, of course, is obligated to not pursue a weapon.  But for now a considerable period of time, we will -- we have, with implementation, really blocked all those pathways and rolled back significantly their capabilities for pursuing a weapon.
 
We have to pursue this, so we have very rigorous constraints for 10 years, 15 years; additional constraints going to 20 and 25 years.  And 25 years from now, they will still have the obligations under the Additional Protocol -- but, of course, by that time, we also hope that it will be a different situation in terms of confidence in their program and where they’re going.  But if it’s not, we will still have our options available at any time. 
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’d just quickly add, from the President’s perspective and how he looks at this, the absolute strictest limitations within the deal have a duration of a decade.  That puts the program significantly further away from a nuclear -- from having enough nuclear material for a weapon.  There are additional limitations that go for 15 years; for instance, the limitation on the Iranian stockpile.
 
So, in any case, as the President said in his remarks today, we are in a much better position 15 years from now than we are today with respect to the Iranian nuclear program.  We will also have benefitted from 15 years of an extensive and comprehensive transparency and verification regime that will allow us not only to monitor Iranian compliance, but again, to look across the entire supply chain of the Iranian nuclear program and to have access to suspicious sites as necessary.
 
Then, beyond that duration, the transparency and verification measures, many of them stay in place, including the Additional Protocol which is permanent -- which means that on the back end of this deal there is absolutely no permission slip for Iran, they’re still prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon under the NPT, and there is still the transparency and verification to monitor whether or not they are pursuing a program that is consistent with peaceful purposes.  And any U.S. President -- 15, 20, 25 years from now -- will have all the same options that are available to the President of the United States today, but we believe we’re putting that President in a much stronger position from having these 15 years of strict limitations and, frankly, the type of transparency and verification measures that were not in place before this deal and that will endure beyond those 15 years of limitations.
 
Q: Can you guys provide any color on how the President was informed about the deal and also his personal involvement in it in the last few weeks, and give any other tick-tock details along those lines both in Vienna and at the White House?  Thank you.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Secretary Kerry, Secretary Moniz, Under Secretary Sherman, the whole team felt extraordinarily supported by the President and by the White House.  We had in the middle of the last few days a very long SVTC, secure video teleconference, with the President, with the national security team to go over where we were in the deal, get further guidance from him in the deal. 
 
His knowledge of these issues, the depth of his knowledge, the breadth of his knowledge is really quite extraordinary.  It is clear he has dug into this.  He has spent the time.  He knows it well.  He’s very clear about the strategy frame in his own mind about what we’re doing here, why we did it, what we’re trying to accomplish.  That’s incredibly critical for any negotiation.
 
The White House and all of its resources have been available to all of us.  Secretary Kerry has spoken to him many times during the time he’s been here in Vienna.  They spoke again last evening, or early this morning -- I don’t remember.  There is no sense of time here anymore; the days and nights all have flowed together.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Just to give you the sense of this, the President met with Secretary Kerry before he went out to Vienna.  This is in keeping with the pattern of these negotiations.  Before critical rounds, we will have a session in the White House Situation Room with Secretary Kerry and the key members of the negotiating team -- Secretary Moniz, Wendy Sherman -- on the VTC from Vienna, because she’s been there even longer than Secretary Kerry and Moniz, and review essentially our bottom lines.  And so the President had that session with Secretary Kerry and the negotiating team before they went out to Vienna.  They reviewed the remaining gaps in the negotiations.  They discussed what our important bottom line positions are.  The President was very focused on needing to meet the framework from Lausanne completely, as our negotiators have done, in terms of the pathways to a weapon and the transparency and verification regime. 
 
After Secretary Kerry and Secretary Moniz went out to Vienna, he was in regular contact with them and he was receiving regular briefings here.  I’d say that every morning the President’s daily briefing was largely dedicated to giving the President updates on the Iran talks.  And he was also updated throughout the day when there were key developments by Susan Rice.
 
We also have White House representation on the State-led team out there -- Rob Malley, our coordinator for the Middle East.  And so we’re in regular contact with all the members of the team, including Rob.
 
I would say that Secretary Kerry and the President have been in frequent contact over the last couple of weeks.  They’ve had phone calls as necessary.  They’ve exchanged messages.  And Secretary Kerry has kept him updated about the status of the talks.  When he needed additional guidance, he was able to reach out to the President.  The President’s direction was he would be available any time Secretary Kerry or the negotiated team needed him. 
 
We did have this secure video conference several days ago that we read out to you all.  I think it’s fair to say, and our negotiators would say, that we were really entering the end game of the negotiations at that point, and that was a critical time to step back and review what our most important bottom lines were as we closed out remaining issues.  So the President was able to give guidance to the team.
 
I’d say his guidance throughout the last several weeks was to not worry about deadlines.  And I know there’s been a lot of focus on extensions -- short-term extensions, but the President’s view was, I don’t care about any particular deadline; I care about the quality of the deal.  And I know that was the view of Secretary Kerry as well.  And the President wanted the negotiating team to make very clear that we were not going to be driven by a June 30th deadline, we were not going to be driven by a July 9th deadline with respect to the reporting requirement to Congress.  We needed to take as long as necessary to get the right deal.  And if we couldn’t get it, we were prepared to walk away from the table.  And so that was guidance, I think, that he relayed throughout this process.
 
With respect to how he was notified, yesterday we had received reports from the team that the final details were completed late yesterday afternoon here.  So a number of the members of the President’s senior national security team here went in to notify him of the fact that the deal was complete.  He, however, wanted to hear it directly from Secretary Kerry, and so he immediately called Secretary Kerry.  He got the report from Secretary Kerry that he’d reached a final deal.  And the President was able to congratulate him.  He told Secretary Kerry how proud he was of him and of the whole negotiating team.  And then, of course, immediately was focused on preparing his announcement for early this morning.
 
Q: I have two questions.  One, can you walk through a little bit about what the President is going to be doing over the next couple days in terms of reaching out to Congress and also to the Israelis, the Saudis, and other countries who have been skeptical of the deal?  And I also wonder if you expect any progress on any of the issues that came up on the sidelines of these talks, most notably the detained Americans -- if you expect any issues on those issues now that you’ve resolved the nuclear deal.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  With respect to the President’s involvement, last night he was able to call the leadership of the House and the Senate and to provide them with the update that we expect that the deal to be announced this morning.  And he will be doing additional engagements with members of Congress throughout the week. 
 
The President feels very confident in the quality of this deal.  Frankly, he has commented that it exceeds what we thought we could get at the beginning of this process.  And so he is welcoming a debate here about the quality of this deal.
 
So again, I’d expect him to be talking to members of Congress very actively.  I can also say that senior members of his national security team will also be calling members of Congress to brief them on the contents of the deal.
 
Beyond that, I’d expect the President to be reaching out to a number of his foreign counterparts as well.  We don’t have any specific calls to read out for you yet, but I would certainly anticipate that the President would want to speak to our key European allies who were with us every step of the way in this process.  He will certainly speak to the Prime Minister of Israel.  They have clear differences about this deal, there is no question about that.  But given the nature of our relationship with Israel and our commitment to their security, he will certainly want to have that conversation.  And I certainly expect that he would speak to the King of Saudi Arabia. 
 
I would note that the Camp David summit was a very important opportunity for us to brief the Gulf States on the contents of the nuclear deal, because at that point we had the Lausanne framework.  I think they left that summit feeling much more assured about the deal itself, but having grave concerns as they always have, and as we do, about other Iranian activity in the region. 
 
And what we committed to do coming out of that summit was to work with them to develop the capabilities necessary to counter any malign Iranian activity in the region, or to counter threats from terrorist organizations like ISIL.  And that will be an ongoing process that we discuss of developing those Gulf State capabilities.
 
And then going forward, I'm sure the President will be speaking to other foreign leaders about this topic, so we’ll be reading out those calls for you.  So again, we certainly expect him to be talking to members of Congress.  We certainly expect him to be talking to his foreign counterparts.  And frankly, he will look for opportunities to make this case directly to the American people -- because even as a lot of the attention is on Congress, it’s important for the American people to understand why this is a good deal for our security.
 
And frankly, there has been a heated debate here in Washington, but I think we’ve seen repeated public opinion surveys that indicate broad support among the American people for a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue.  And I think the President is confident in the case that he can put forward before the American people.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  On the detained Americans, as I think most of you know, every time we have a negotiation round with the Iranians we have on the margins of those discussions about the detained Americans in Iran, as well as our concerns about missing American, Robert Levinson.  And both Secretary Kerry and myself, both separately and together, have had more than one conversation during the course of this negotiating round. 
 
Secretary Kerry, in fact, had yet another conversation today with Minister Zarif, and there are other people on the delegation that have close ties to other parts of the Iranian government with whom we speak as well. 
 
We believe very strongly that this is an opportunity for Iran to let the Americans come home.  We don’t believe they belong in jail in Iran now.  We believe that Iran ought to help to find Robert Levinson and bring him home.  We certainly want to make sure that the treatment of Americans who are now being detained is the best until they get home, and that should be immediately.  And we are doing whatever we possibly can to get Americans home.  And we think that this is a moment where Iran has a really important opportunity to make a humanitarian gesture and bring the Americans home.
 
Q: I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the sanctions on conventional weapons and ballistic missiles.  Looking at what General Dempsey and Secretary Carter said last week, under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and we want to keep them isolated as a military.  Can you explain to us how you’re going to tell Congress that this deal meets those concerns? 
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We will be introducing a U.N. Security Council resolution perhaps as early as next week in negotiations with all of our other colleagues.  Here in Vienna, we have a draft resolution that will be the basis.  The U.S. was penholder on that resolution.  We had a very extensive negotiation with the Iranians and with all of our partners in the P5 in particular on what UNSCR, what that U.N. Security Council resolution should look like. 
 
In fact, I think many people believed we’d come into these negotiations, we wouldn’t be able to hold on to the arms restrictions, we wouldn’t be able to get any missile restrictions whatsoever.  And indeed, we accomplished both.  We accomplished both under Article 41, which means that all of the enforcement mechanisms are brought to bear.  We had, as Secretary Kerry said today in answering a question, three of our partners believed -- two of our partners believed that there should be zero arms restrictions from day one.  Other partners had varying interest in this.  Our partners had different views about what the missile restriction should be.
 
In the final analysis, there are five years of arms restrictions, there are eight years of missile restrictions both under Article 41.  In addition, the United States has its own unilateral arms restrictions, missile restrictions, further non-proliferation restrictions, asset control restrictions.  My colleague can go into some of the details on that, and my State Department colleague is here as well as regards those.
 
So we think that we have, in fact, come out of this piece of the negotiation which did happen and finalized in the middle of the night, last night here -- early this morning -- with an agreement on all of the elements of the U.N. Security Council resolution agreed to by all the members of the P5 and Germany as well.
 
So we feel like we went further than what I think most people expected we would get out of the U.N. Security Council resolution.  There will also be a procurement channel that will be established through the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action so that, in fact, there are controls on what is needed for the changes that need to take place in Iran’s nuclear program.  There will be the snap-back mechanism if there is any significant non-compliance, as my colleague mentioned a moment ago. 
And we will continue to have the process of designation at the U.N., as well as our own unilateral and EU designations and other country designations for those proliferators and those arms agents that we feel are not really keeping international peace and security.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  First of all, it was always going to be an issue of when these restrictions were lifted, given the fact that the arms embargo and ballistic missile provisions were a part of the nuclear-related U.N. Security Council resolutions.  That is a premise that we accepted at the very beginning of this process when we decided to deal with the U.N. Security Council resolutions in the context of the negotiations.  And that was necessary, of course, to achieve the very comprehensive deal that we announced today.
 
I think the President’s guidance -- and this is one of the issues that we were discussing -- was that it was important to keep those restrictions in place for a substantial period of time, which was the marker we laid down in Lausanne, recognizing that Iran was taking a very firm position that those restrictions should be lifted as soon as other U.N. Security Council resolutions were suspended. 
 
So frankly, the fact that we will maintain eight years of a ballistic missile provision and five years of the arms embargo, we believe does allow us to have a substantial amount of time where we’re keeping those in place within the context of the deal. 
 
But I would note that we’re acting entirely consistent with the comments made by Secretary Carter and Chairman Dempsey in that we are not relaxing our pressure on Iran with respect to its ballistic missile program and its import and export of arms -- particularly export of arms to areas of great concern like Syria and Yemen and Libya.
And the fact is, we have a number of unilateral measures that are focused on applying sanctions on Iran for that activity.  We have a number of partnerships around the world that are dedicated to interdicting the export of dangerous material, particularly to conflict zones.  And we have an initiative that we are pursuing with the Gulf countries that is dedicated to countering Iranian malign activities.  So in this period of time as the deal is being implemented, we're also going to be bolstering the capabilities of our partners to provide for their own security and to counter malign Iranian influence.
 
So we will be continuing to use a range of tools available to us to address the arms question and Iranian ballistic missile program.  That will include the five years in which the arms embargo continues to be in place and the eight years of the ballistic missile provisions.  But it also includes a range of other unilateral and multilateral tools.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Just to briefly fill in some of the tools that my colleague is referencing.  There’s a host of, obviously, international, multilateral regimes that restrict the transfer of missile parts, technology.  There’s the Missile Technology Control Regime; the Proliferation Security Initiative, which has 100-plus countries around the world signed on to it to help limit the imports and exports into Iran of missile-related items. 
 
On top of that, when you talk about arms transfers, it's not just the U.N. arms transfers restrictions on Iran, which my colleague was describing.  There are also restrictions on the transfer of weapons, as I think many of you know, to Yemen, to Iraq, to Lebanon, Sudan, Libya, North Korea -- so that we are not without an international framework that would govern and restrict those transfer if Iran is trying to move weapons to those countries.
 
On the unilateral side, we have executive orders that allow us to target those who are moving missile technology or other things that present proliferation concerns.  Executive Order 12938 and 13382, for example, as well as the Iran, North Korea, Syria Non-Proliferation Act -- INKSNA -- of 2006 -- all of those remain in place.
 
I will say that in my office we had some pretty extensive discussions both with our Gulf counterparts and with our Israeli counterparts about how to draw on these international and national-level regimes to be able to more effectively combat at the attempt at procurement and attempt at weapons sales.  And I think you're going to see that continue in the months ahead.
 
Q:    I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about you had maintained this strong P5+1 consensus on this deal. If you're having problems on getting the deal through Congress, I know you think you probably have enough votes to override a veto, but can you talk a little bit about what you fear the international implications might be if Congress were to reject this deal, if the U.S. was forced to walk away in some way, what that would do to the deal that you have on the table right now?
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  As you know, this is a deal that has the full support of the international community through the P5+1.  It will be memorialized in a U.N. Security Council resolution.  It achieves the basic objectives that were set out in terms of preventing Iran from being able to obtain a nuclear weapon, ensuring that its program is for peaceful purposes. 
 
I think it's very important to note one of the comments the President made in his remarks, which is that some people have put forward the notion that we should not pursue this deal, but we should rather simply pursue additional sanctions.  In the first instance, we believe that history shows that when we just walk away from the table and impose sanctions, that in no way serves as a check on Iran’s nuclear program.  They steadily advanced their nuclear program under sanctions.  Ultimately, sanctions helped pressure them back to the table, but keep in mind, before the Joint Plan of Action, they were accumulating more stockpiles; they we're installing more centrifuges; they were developing more advanced centrifuges.  And that was happening while they were being sanctioned. 
 
So sanctions alone did not prevent them from making progress.  Sanctions could get them to the table to get this deal.  And this is the fundamental point.  The purpose of the sanctions was to get this deal.  They were imposed for nuclear-related purposes.  So, of course, they are going to receive sanctions relief.  But the whole purpose was rooted in our strategic decision that it was important to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and that that was our principal priority.  Because all the other things that Iran does that concerns us would be far more dangerous if they had a nuclear weapon.
 
And I say that because if there was a decision taken by Congress to kill this deal, there is not a scenario that anybody could see whereby the rest of the world would sign up for additional sanctions.  The world has had to make significant sacrifices, in some cases, to reduce their purchase of Iranian oil.  They did that in support of this negotiation.  So when we went around to Europe, to China, to India, to South Korea, to Japan, and got them and others to reduce their purchases of Iranian oil, the express purpose of that effort was to get this deal.  So if, having gotten this deal, we then kill it, it is hard to see why those countries would then go back along with additional sanctions. 
 
Again, the world signed up for sanctions to get a deal.  We have a deal.  It's a good deal.  It will be endorsed by the world via the U.N. Security Council resolution.  And so the question is a vote to kill this deal could potentially be a vote to kill the sanctions regime because it will make it far more difficult to bring those other countries along.  And frankly, sanctions are only effective if we are able to bring the world with us in enforcement.
 
Q:    I did want to ask you if you could talk a little bit about the President’s decision to have the Vice President at his side.  Was this meant to signal to Israel or to Congress sort of the validity of the deal?  And also, is there any chance that the President would consider traveling to Iran before the end of his presidency?  Or do you think no matter how well this goes, it will be too soon to contemplate that? 
 
And then finally, you don't need a majority, you just need enough to provide a veto override.  How confident are you that you have that?  And what’s your lobbying effort going to be to sustain that? 
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, first of all, the Vice President I think frequently stands with the President for particularly important announcements.  The Vice President has also worked on this issue for a long time, including in the Senate.  He’s worked on issues related to Iran, Iran sanctions, for decades.  And so given his foreign policy experience which focused on this issue and simply for the fact that this is a very significant moment for the administration, the President wanted the Vice President there standing by his side.  I think it sends a message about how united our entire administration is in support of this course of action. 
 
With respect to the question with respect to Congress, look, we will brief this extensively to Congress.  There will be briefings, there will be testimonies.  There are exhaustive documentation associated with this deal -- the main text and the annexes -- which will be submitted to Congress for its review.  We believe that it deserves the support of as many members of Congress as we can get. 
 
At the end of the day, as you say, the President made clear that he would veto any legislation that is intended to prevent the successful implementation of this deal.  So we're confident in our ability to get the support necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the deal.  But we take nothing for granted and we want to make sure that we're making the case to these members, many of whom, again, played a critical role in building the sanctions regime to help get us to the table.  So we have great respect for how deeply involved members of Congress have been on the Iranian issue over time.
 
On the travel, I would not -- the President has made clear, even as we're making this important deal, and even as this deal holds out the prospects of the possibility for Iran to take a different path, we continue to have very serious differences with Iran with respect to its support for terrorism, its threat towards Israel and its neighbors, its support for various proxies across the region that are destabilizing.  So, no, we are not considering travel.  What we're focused on is a deal that, frankly, prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
 
But, as the President said in his remarks, he’s consistently laid out two paths that are available to Iran, and there is a path whereby they choose a direction that will allow them to be more integrated with the global economy and international community.  It would be good for the United States, for the world, and above all, for the Iranian people if they took that path.  But in the meantime, we obviously continue to have very grave concerns with many aspects of Iranian policy.
 
Q:    On the list of individuals and entities who are seeing sanctions lifted include Soleimani and the Quds Force.  When were their names added to that?  And does that mean that all of the sanctions on Soleimani and the Quds Force are lifted?  Because as I recall, at least some of them had absolutely nothing to do with the nuclear program.  Soleimani was sanctioned in part because of his support of Assad, isn't that right?
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We’d have to get the specific information that -- we will continue to have significant sanctions on the Quds Force and their related entities.  And we will certainly continue to have sanctions on Qassem Soleimani for -- he’s the leader of the IRGC -- for a range of reasons, including support for terrorism and activities in Syria.  So Qassem Soleimani and the Quds Force will continue to be sanctioned entities. 
 
But if there are other specific designation questions related to U.N. designations, let us know and we can follow up with you on that.  But I'm confident on the notion that the Quds Force as an entity and -- but there are individual designations at the U.N. that are part of this -- and so we can follow up with you on the nature of those individual designations.  But that would not take away the sanctions that are on the Quds Force and Qassem Soleimani. 
 
*[Ghasem Soleimani is a different person from – and not to be confused with – IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani. Ghasem Soleimani who will be delisted at Phase 1, was listed at the United Nations for being Director of Uranium Mining Operations at the Saghand Uranium Mine (Saghand Mine).  He was listed in an annex to U.N. Security Council resolution 1803 of March 3, 2008, as a person linked to Iran's proliferation sensitive nuclear activities or development of nuclear weapon delivery systems.
 
In contrast, the IRGC Commander Qassem Soleimani will not be delisted at the United Nations at Phase 1; he will be delisted at the UN at Phase 2 when the underlying designation authority terminates. To be clear, Qassem Soleimani's UN delisting at Phase 2 will be a result of the termination of the UN sanctions at that point in time. It is important to note that Phase 2 is the last time at which UN sanctions can be lifted, after 8 years into the deal,  so sanctions are not being lifted early on Qassem Soleimani.
 
Further, given that Qassam Soleimani's domestic designation is due to his affiliation with the IRGC, among other non-nuclear bases, his designation under U.S. sanctions will in no way be impacted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached today.  Since secondary sanctions remain in place on the U.S. side, this means that sanctions on Qassam Soleimani will still have an international effect. Keep in mind, that secondary sanctions targets third-country actors doing business with Iranian persons on the U.S. SDN list.
 
Q: During this recent round of talks, did the President -- was he in contact with Khamenei or Rouhani?  And does he plan to be in contact today or in the coming days?
 
And just a quick second question.  Your colleague mentioned Article 41 with regard to U.N. Security Council resolutions.  Just to be clear, it would be a Chapter 7 resolution but without explicit reference to Article 42, but leaving the military path open in case of a breach -- is that right?
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  On your first question, the President did not have communications during the course of this latest round with the Supreme Leader or President Rouhani.  He has in the past sent letters to both the Supreme Leader and to President Rouhani, including a letter to President Rouhani at the beginning of the negotiation, which was important I think in initiating this effort -- and then in occasional moments in the talks where we wanted to lay out our positions clearly, he has used letters to do so.  But he did not in recent weeks.
 
I don't have any additional plans going forward with respect to outreach to the Iranians.  We’d certainly keep you updated were that to take place.
 
With respect to the U.N. question, it's under Article 41.  If I understood your question correctly, you are also asking about our -- were you asking about our own military option?  You referenced the military option.  I'll speak to that and then my colleague can speak to the nature of the authority.
 
Obviously -- and again, forgive me if I misunderstood your question.  But with respect to the military option, as the President expressed today, our clear preference is to resolve this diplomatically.  We believe that this deal accomplishes that objective.  Going forward, this or any future U.S. President would have any option available to them, including military action, if they felt that that was necessary.  But with respect to the nuclear issue, if Iran is complying with this deal, we certainly believe that that would not be necessary to address the nuclear issue. 
 
In the case of a violation, the immediate consequence would be the snapback that is allowed for in the U.N. Security Council resolution.  So the immediate consequence for Iran for a significant amount of time would be a snapback of all the sanctions, including under the U.N. Security Council resolution. And then we reserve other options for consideration.
 
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The only thing I'd add is that U.N. Security Council sanctions restrictions that will remain in place, some of which are going to be basically repackaged from the old U.N. Security Council resolutions and reincorporated simultaneously into a new one, will still be under Chapter 7, Article 41.  So they have the full force and are binding on all member states.
 

The Final Deal: White House Infographics

After the announcement of a final nuclear deal between Iran and the world's six major powers on July 14, the White House published the following text and series of infographics describing "how the U.S. and the international community will block all of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon."

After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 -- the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany -- along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.
 
This deal stands on the foundation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), achieved in November of 2013, and the framework for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), announced in Lausanne on April 2, 2015 that set the requirements for the deal with the P5+ 1 and Iran, alongside the European Union announced today.
Now, with this deal in place, the U.S., our allies, and the international community can know that tough, new requirements will keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Here's how:
 
Blocking the Four Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon 
 
Building a nuclear bomb requires either uranium or plutonium. But thanks to this deal, Iran’s four possible ways to leverage those fissile materials are blocked.
 

 
The Uranium pathways at Natanz and Fordow
 
Iran would needs two key elements to construct a uranium bomb: tens of thousands of centrifuges and enough highly enriched uranium to produce enough material to construct a uranium bomb.
 
There are currently two uranium enrichment facilities in the country: the Natanz facility and the Fordow facility.
 
Let’s take a look at Iran’s uranium stockpile first. Currently, Iran has a uranium stockpile to create 8 to ten nuclear bombs.
 
But thanks to this nuclear deal, Iran must reduce its stockpile of uranium by 98%, and will keep its level of uranium enrichment at 3.67% -- significantly below the enrichment level needed to create a bomb.
 
Iran also needs tens of thousands of centrifuges to create highly enriched uranium for a bomb. Right now, Iran has nearly 20,000 centrifuges between their Natanz and Fordow facilities. But under this deal, Iran must reduce its centrifuges to 6,104 for the next ten years. No enrichment will be allowed at the Fordow facility at all, and the only centrifuges Iran will be allowed to use are their oldest and least efficient models.
In short, here’s the difference this historic deal will make:
 
 
The Plutonium pathway at the Arak reactor
 
The third way Iran could build a nuclear weapon is by using weapons-grade plutonium. The only site where Iran could accomplish this is the Arak reactor, a heavy-water nuclear reactor. Right now, this reactor could be used in a weapons program, but under this deal, the Arak reactor will be redesigned so it cannot produce any weapons-grade plutonium. And all the spent fuel rods (which could also be source material for weapons-grade plutonium) will be sent out of the country as long as this reactor exists. What’s more, Iran will not be able to build a single heavy-water reactor for at least 15 years. That means, because of this deal, Iran will no longer have a source for weapons-grade plutonium.
 
A covert pathway to building a secret nuclear program
 
The previous three pathways occur at facilities that Iran has declared. But what if they try to build a nuclear program in secret? That’s why this deal is so important. Under the new nuclear deal, Iran has committed to extraordinary and robust monitoring, verification, and inspection. International inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will not only be continuously monitoring every element of Iran’s declared nuclear program, but they will also be verifying that no fissile material is covertly carted off to a secret location to build a bomb. And if IAEA inspectors become aware of a suspicious location, Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement, which will allow inspectors to access and inspect any site they deem suspicious. Such suspicions can be triggered by holes in the ground that could be uranium mines, intelligence reports, unexplained purchases, or isotope alarms.
 
Basically, from the minute materials that could be used for a weapon comes out of the ground to the minute it is shipped out of the country, the IAEA will have eyes on it and anywhere Iran could try and take it:

 

 

What Iran's Nuclear Program Would Look Like Without This Deal 
 
As it stands today, Iran has a large stockpile of enriched uranium and nearly 20,000 centrifuges, enough to create 8 to 10 bombs. If Iran decided to rush to make a bomb without the deal in place, it would take them 2 to 3 months until they had enough weapon-ready uranium (or highly enriched uranium) to build their first nuclear weapon. Left unchecked, that stockpile and that number of centrifuges would grow exponentially, practically guaranteeing that Iran could create a bomb—and create one quickly – if it so chose.
 
This deal removes the key elements needed to create a bomb and prolongs Iran’s breakout time from 2-3 months to 1 year or more if Iran broke its commitments. Importantly, Iran won’t garner any new sanctions relief until the IAEA confirms that Iran has followed through with its end of the deal. And should Iran violate any aspect of this deal, the U.N., U.S., and E.U. can snap the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy back into place.
 
Here’s what Iran has committed to:
 
 
The difference this deal is significant. Take a look at exactly what Iran’s nuclear program will look like now under this deal:
 
 
Click here for more information
 

The Final Deal: Kerry Statement

On July 14, Secretary of State John Kerry said that parameters from the Lausanne framework “have been amplified in ways that make this [final] agreement even stronger.” The following is a transcript of his remarks in Vienna shortly after the final deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers was announced.
 

 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon everybody. I want to begin by thanking you, as others have, for your extraordinary patience. I know this has been a long couple of weeks for everybody, including, above all, the press, who have waited long hours during the day for very little news, and we’re very grateful for your patience. This is an historic day, but for me, it’s an historic day because it represents the first time in six weeks that I’ve worn a pair of shoes. 
 
Today, in announcing a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the United States, our P5+1 and EU partners, and Iran have taken a measureable step away from the prospect of nuclear proliferation, towards transparency and cooperation. It is a step away from the specter of conflict and towards the possibility of peace.
 
This moment has been a long time coming, and we have worked very hard to get here. A resolution to this type of challenge never comes easily – not when the stakes are so high, not when the issues are so technical, and not when each decision affects global and regional security so directly. The fact is that the agreement we’ve reached, fully implemented, will bring insight and accountability to Iran’s nuclear program – not for a small number of years but for the lifetime of that program. This is the good deal that we have sought.
 
Believe me, had we been willing to settle for a lesser deal, we would have finished this negotiation a long time ago. But we were not. All of us – not just the United States, but France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, China, and the EU – were determined to get this right. And so we have been patient, and I believe our persistence has paid off.  
 
A few months ago in Lausanne, we and our international partners joined Iran in announcing a series of parameters to serve as the contours of a potential deal. Experts and commentators were, in fact, surprised by all that we had achieved at that point. After three more months of long days and late nights, I’m pleased to tell you that we have stayed true to those contours and we have now finally carved in the details.
 
Now I want to be very clear: The parameters that we announced in Lausanne not only remain intact and form the backbone of the agreement that we reached today, but through the detail, they have been amplified in ways that make this agreement even stronger. 
 
That includes the sizable reduction of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium and the number of centrifuges that it operates. 
 
It also guarantees that Iran’s breakout time – the time it would take for Iran to speed up its enrichment and produce enough fissile material for just one nuclear weapon – that time will increase to at least one year for a period of at least 10 years.
 
And contrary to the assertions of some, this agreement has no sunset. It doesn’t terminate. It will be implemented in phases – beginning within 90 days of the UN Security Council endorsing the deal, and some of the provisions are in place for 10 years, others for 15 year, others for 25 years. And certain provisions – including many of the transparency measures and prohibitions on nuclear work – will stay in place permanently.
 
But most importantly, this agreement addresses Iran’s potential pathways to fissile material for a bomb exactly as we said it would – with appropriate limitations and transparency in order to assure the world of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
 
Now, let me explain exactly how it will accomplish that goal.
 
To start, the participants have agreed Iran will not produce or acquire either highly enriched uranium or weapons-grade plutonium for at least the next 15 years, and Iran declares a longer period of intent.
 
Iran’s total stockpile of enriched uranium – which today is equivalent to almost 12,000 kilograms of UF6 – will be capped at just 300 kilograms for the next 15 years – an essential component of expanding our breakout time. Two-thirds of Iran’s centrifuges will be removed from nuclear facilities along with the infrastructure that supports them. And once they’re removed, the centrifuges will be – and the infrastructure, by the way – will be locked away and under around-the-clock monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
 
Uranium enrichment at Natanz will be scaled down significantly. For the next 15 years, no uranium will be enriched beyond 3.67 percent. To put that in context, this is a level that is appropriate for civilian nuclear power and research, but well below anything that could be used possibly for a weapon.
 
For the next 10 years, Iran has agreed to only use its first-generation centrifuges in order to enrich uranium. Iran has further agreed to disconnect nearly all of its advanced centrifuges, and those that remain installed will be part of a constrained and closely monitored R&D program – and none will be used to produce enriched uranium.
 
Iran has also agreed to stop enriching uranium at its Fordow facility for the next 15 years. It will not even use or store fissile material on the site during that time. Instead, Fordow will be transformed into a nuclear, physics, and technology research center – it will be used, for example, to produce isotopes for cancer treatment, and it will be subject to daily inspection and it will have other nations working in unison with the Iranians within that technology center.  
 
So when this deal is implemented, the two uranium paths Iran has towards fissile material for a weapon will be closed off.
 
The same is true for the plutonium path. We have agreed Iran’s heavy-water reactor at Arak will be rebuilt – based on a final design that the United States and international partners will approve – so that it will only be used for peaceful purposes. And Iran will not build a new heavy-water reactor or reprocess fuel from its existing reactors for at least 15 years.
 
But this agreement is not only about what happens to Iran’s declared facilities. The deal we have reached also gives us the greatest assurance that we have had that Iran will not pursue a weapon covertly.
 
Not only will inspectors be able to access Iran’s declared facilities daily, but they will also have access to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, from start to finish – from uranium mines to centrifuge manufacturing and operation. So what this means is, in fact, that to be able to have a covert path, Iran would actually need far more than one covert facility – it would need an entire covert supply chain in order to feed into that site. And to ensure that that does not happen without our knowledge, under this deal, inspectors will be able to gain access to any location the IAEA and a majority of the P5+1 nations deem suspicious.
 
It is no secret that the IAEA also has had longstanding questions about the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. That is one of the primary reasons that we are even here today, and we and our partners have made clear throughout the negotiations that Iran would need to satisfy the IAEA on this as part of the final deal. With that in mind, Iran and the IAEA have already entered into an agreement on the process to address all of the IAEA’s outstanding questions within three months – and doing so is a fundamental requirement for sanctions relief that Iran seeks. And Director Amano announced earlier this morning that that agreement has been signed.
 
Now, our quarrel has never been with the Iranian people, and we realize how deeply the nuclear-related sanctions have affected the lives of Iranians. Thanks to the agreement reached today, that will begin to change. In return for the dramatic changes that Iran has accepted for its nuclear program, the international community will be lifting the nuclear-related sanctions on Iran’s economy.
 
And the relief from sanctions will only start when Tehran has met its key initial nuclear commitments – for example, when it has removed the core from the Arak reactor; when it has dismantled the centrifuges that it has agreed to dismantle; when it has shipped out the enriched uranium that it has agreed to ship out. When these and other commitments are met, the sanctions relief will then begin to be implemented in phases.
 
The reason for that is very simple: Confidence is never built overnight. It has to be developed over time. And this morning, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif expressed his hope that this agreement can be a beginning of a change of the interactions between Iran and the international community.
 
That is why none of the sanctions that we currently have in place will, in fact, be lifted until Iran implements the commitments that it has made. And some restrictions, including those related to arms and proliferation, will remain in place for some years to come. And I want to underscore: If Iran fails in a material way to live up to these commitments, then the United States, the EU, and even the UN sanctions that initially brought Iran to the table can and will snap right back into place. We have a specific provision in this agreement called snapback for the return of those sanctions in the event of noncompliance.
 
Now, there will be some who will assert that we could have done more – or that if we had just continued to ratchet up the pressure, Iran would have eventually raised a white flag and abandoned its nuclear program altogether. But the fact is the international community tried that approach. That was the policy of the United States and others during the years 2000 and before. And in the meantime, guess what happened? The Iranian program went from 164 centrifuges to thousands. The Iranian program grew despite the fact that the international community said, “No enrichment at all, none.” The program grew to the point where Iran accumulated enough fissile material for about 12 – 10 to 12 nuclear bombs.
 
I will tell you, sanctioning Iran until it capitulates makes for a powerful talking point and a pretty good political speech, but it’s not achievable outside a world of fantasy.
 
The true measure of this agreement is not whether it meets all of the desires of one side at the expense of the other; the test is whether or not it will leave the world safer and more secure than it would be without it. So let’s review the facts.  
 
Without this agreement or the Joint Plan of Action on which it builds, Iran’s breakout time to get enough material – nuclear material for a weapon was already two to three months. That’s where we started. We started with Iran two months away with enough fissile material for 10 bombs. With this agreement, that breakout time goes to a year or more, and that will be the case for at least a decade.
 
Without this agreement, Iran could just double its enrichment capacity tomorrow – literally – and within a few years it could expand it to as many as 100,000 centrifuges. With this agreement, Iran will be operating about 5,000 centrifuges for a fixed period of time.
 
Without this agreement, Iran would be able to add rapidly and without any constraint to its stockpile of enriched uranium, which already at 20 percent was dangerous and higher than any of us were satisfied was acceptable. With this agreement, the stockpile will be kept at no more than 300 kilograms for 15 years.
 
Without this agreement, Iran’s Arak reactor could produce enough weapons-grade plutonium each year to fuel two nuclear weapons. With this agreement, the core of the Arak reactor will be removed and filled with concrete, and Iran will not produce any weapons-grade plutonium. 
Without this agreement, the IAEA would not have definitive access to locations suspected of conducting undeclared nuclear activities. With this agreement, the IAEA will be able to access any location, declared or undeclared, to follow up on legitimate concerns about nuclear activities.
 
There can be no question that this agreement will provide a stronger, more comprehensive, and more lasting means of limiting Iran’s nuclear program than any realistic – realistic alternative. And those who criticize and those who spend a lot of time suggesting that something could be better have an obligation to provide an alternative that, in fact, works. And let me add this: While the nations that comprise the P5+1 obviously don’t always see eye-to-eye on global issues, we are in full agreement on the quality and importance of this deal. From the very beginning of this process, we have considered not only our own security concerns, but also the serious and legitimate anxieties of our friends and our allies in the region – especially Israel and the Gulf States. And that has certainly been the case in recent days, as we worked to hammer out the final details.
 
So let me make a couple of points crystal-clear: First, what we are announcing today is an agreement addressing the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program – period – just the nuclear program. And anybody who knows the conduct of international affairs knows that it is better to deal with a country if you have problems with it if they don’t have a nuclear weapon. As such, a number of U.S. sanctions will remain in place, including those related to terrorism, human rights, and ballistic missiles. In addition, the United States will continue our efforts to address concerns about Iran’s actions in the region, including by our providing key support to our partners and our allies and by making sure we are vigilant in pushing back against destabilizing activities.
 
And certainly, we continue to call on Iran to immediately release the detained U.S. citizens. These Americans have remained in our thoughts throughout this negotiation, and we will continue to work for their safe and their swift return. And we urge Iran to bring our missing Americans home as well.
 
And we also know there is not a challenge in the entire region that would not become worse if Iran had a nuclear weapon. That’s why this deal is so important. It’s also why we met at Camp David with the Gulf States and why we will make clear to them in the days ahead the ways in which we will work together in order to guarantee the security of the region. The provisions of this agreement help guarantee that the international community can and will address regional challenges without the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.
 
Second, no part of this agreement relies on trust. It is all based on thorough and extensive transparency and verification measures that are included in very specific terms in the annexes of this agreement. If Iran fails to comply, we will know it, because we’re going to be there – the international community, through the IAEA and otherwise – and we will know it quickly, and we will be able to respond accordingly.
 
And before closing, I would like to make – I would like to say thank you to some folks who really made a difference in the course of all of this. And I want to begin by thanking my president, President Obama, who had the courage to launch this process, believe in it, support it, encourage it, when many thought that the objective was impossible, and who led the way from the start to the finish. The President has been resolute in insisting from the day he came to office that Iran will never have a nuclear weapon, and he has been equally – equally strong in asserting that diplomacy should be given a fair chance to achieve that goal.
 
I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues – excuse me – for the many, many contributions that they have made – Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the entire DOD – the department, but I especially want to thank my partner in this effort who came late to the process but has made an essential contribution to our achievement of this agreement, and that is Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, who has put many long days here in Switzerland – here and in Switzerland – during these negotiations and, frankly, whose background as a nuclear scientist just proved to be essential in helping us, together with former foreign minister and Vice President Salehi, to be able to really work through very difficult issues, some of the toughest and technical issues.
 
I want to thank the members of Congress – my former colleagues – for their role in this achievement, particularly in designing and passing sanctions legislation that did exactly what the UN resolution set out to do, and that is bring Iran to the table in order to negotiate. It helped us achieve the goal of these negotiations, and I appreciate their counsel and I look forward to the next chapter in our conversations. Whatever disagreements might sometimes exist, we all agree on a goal of a Middle East where our interests are protected and our allies and our friends are safe and secure.
 
And I want to especially thank my friend and my exceptional colleague, the Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, who has piloted – (applause) – she has led our team, which you can tell is still pretty enthusiastic, notwithstanding the long stay – and she has really done so with just an amazingly strong will, with a clear sense of direction, very steady nerves, hardly any sleep – and she’s been doing that for several years, folks, with amazing periods of time away from home and away from family. She and our absolutely brilliant, tireless team of experts and diplomats have done an absolutely incredible job, and frankly, they deserve the gratitude of our nation. (Applause.) I also want to thank those who’ve served on the U.S. negotiating team in the past who were not here for the close but who were indispensable in helping to shape this negotiation – particularly former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, Jake Sullivan, who were absolutely essential in the earliest days.
 
I also want to thank my counterparts from every other delegation. All of the political directors were absolutely stunning in this. It’s been a privilege of my public service to be able to work with the teams that I have worked with here and in the other cities we’ve been. Our counterparts have made absolutely critical contributions to this. This was a team effort. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius; British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond; Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov; German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
 
I also want to thank the high representatives of the EU, there’s several – Javier Solana, Dame Cathy Ashton, and her successor, Federica Mogherini, who helped shepherd these past weeks in such an effective way. I also want to thank her deputy to the high representative, Helga Schmid, who, together with Wendy, they just formed an incredible unity, and they facilitated and guided our talks with enormous dedication and skill.
 
All of these leaders and the legion of aids who contributed countless hours to assisting us really set a new standard for international cooperation and hard work. And the fact that we have stood together and maintained our unity throughout these 18 months lends enormous weight and credibility to the agreement we have forged, but it also offers everybody a sign of possibilities, a sign of encouragement for those who believe in the power of diplomacy and of negotiation.
 
Thank you also to the Government of Austria, which has very generously hosted this last round of talks – perhaps for a bit longer than it may have expected – and it has also hosted countless rounds before this one, so they’ve made a very special contribution to this. And I’ll tell you, all the police and the folks in the hotels and everybody in Austria, Vielen dank. We thank you for a really remarkable welcome.
 
I want to thank the other nations that have hosted these talks – this has been sort of a traveling circus – in particular Switzerland, Oman, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Iraq, and my home country, the United States.
 
And I am particularly grateful – we are particularly grateful, all of us, to the sultan of Oman, for his very personal engagement and support for the possibility of an agreement. He and his government were there to help every step of the way.
 
And I finally want to express my deep respect for the serious and constructive approach that Iran’s representatives brought to our deliberations. The president of Iran, President Rouhani, had to make a difficult decision. We all know the tensions that exist. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, a tough, capable negotiator, and patriot, a man who fought every inch of the way for the things he believed, and sometimes these were heated and passionate exchanges. But he and his team, while tough, always professional, always dedicated to finding solutions to difficult problems. And we were, both of us, able to approach these negotiations with mutual respect, even when there were times of a heated discussion, I think he would agree with me at the end of every meeting we left with a smile and with a conviction that we were going to come back and continue the process. We never lost sight of the goal that an agreement could bring and the best long-term interests of all concerned.
 
Now, we are under no illusions that the hard work is over. No one is standing here today to say that the path ahead is easy or automatic. We move now to a new phase – a phase that is equally critical and may prove to be just as difficult – and that is implementation. The 109 pages that we have agreed upon outline commitments made on both sides. In the end, however, this agreement will live or die by whether the leaders who have to implement it on both sides honor and implement the commitments that have been made. 
 
There is reason to be optimistic. In January of last year, we took the first step by adopting the Joint Plan of Action. Man, were we told by skeptics that we were making a mistake of a lifetime – that Iran would never comply, that this was a terrible agreement. But you know what? They were dead wrong. All sides met their obligations. The diplomatic process went forward. And we are already nearing almost two years of Iran’s compliance, full compliance, with the agreement.
 
The entire world has a stake in ensuring that the same thing happens now. Not only will this deal, fully implemented, make the world safer than it is today, but it may also eventually unlock opportunities to begin addressing regional challenges that cannot be resolved without this kind of an agreement being in place in the first place. The past 18 months have been yet another example of diplomacy’s consummate power to forge a peaceful way forward, no matter how impossible it may seem.
 
Obviously, every country that has been at the table over the past 18 months has had its own domestic perspective to consider. The United States is no exception. Back home, the future of Iran’s nuclear program has long been the focus of a lot of debate, and I have absolutely no doubt that debate is going to become even more intense in the coming days. I’ll tell you what, we welcome the opportunity to engage. These are vitally important issues, and they deserve rigorous but fact-based discussion. I’ve heard more talk in the last days about concessions being made and people racing. We have not made concessions. Lausanne is more than intact. And the facts are what should define this agreement.
 
From the start, President Obama and I have pledged that we would not settle for anything less than a good deal – good for Americans and good for our partners, our friends, our allies, good for the future of the Middle East, and good for the peace of mind of the world.  That is what we pursued and that is what we insisted on through long months of hard negotiations, and that is precisely what we believe we have achieved today.
 
I will just share with you very personally, years ago when I left college, I went to war. And I learned in war the price that is paid when diplomacy fails. And I made a decision that if I ever was lucky enough to be in a position to make a difference, I would try to do so. I believe this agreement actually represents an effort by the United States of America and all of its member – its colleagues in the P5+1 to come together with Iran to avert an inevitability of conflict that would come were we not able to reach agreement. I think that’s what diplomacy was put in place to achieve, and I know that war is the failure of diplomacy and the failure of leaders to make alternative decisions.
 
So we have a chance here and I hope that in the days ahead that people will look at this agreement hard for the facts that define it and that we will be able to fully implement it and move forward.
 
I’d be happy to take a few questions.
 
QUESTION: Sorry. What do you say to critics who say that lifting the UN arms embargo will fuel an arms race that endangers U.S. allies in the Middle East, making it unlikely that Congress will endorse the deal? And what’s the Administration’s plan if Congress rejects the agreement with a veto-proof majority? And last, what do you say to U.S. energy companies and other businesses who will remain under U.S. primary sanctions, putting them at a disadvantage against nations who now will be allowed to return to investment and trade in Iran?
 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, let me answer the second one first. With respect to companies that want to rush to do business in Iran, it is absolutely true that because of the embargo by the United States, American companies will not be part of that rush – unless specifically exempted, and very few are. So the reality is that, indeed, other countries will make a different choice. This is something Congress is going to have to consider, whether or not over the course of time, Iran, if they fully comply, whether they think it makes sense to continue.
But let me underscore, because this goes into your first question, and that is about the arms embargo. First of all, there were seven participants in this negotiation. Three of them believe there should be no embargo whatsoever, and four of them believe there should be a continuation. The result of the negotiation is that it not only continues for five full years, which is a pretty lengthy period of time during which a lot of other things can begin to happen, but it also continues under Chapter VII, Article 41, so that it is fully enforceable and has the force of the United Nations Security Council. Now, to have achieved that when three of the nations could have said no deal and walked away or you could have had a different outcome I think is significant, number one.
 
Number two, and this is very important, the United Nations Resolution 1929, which is the resolution that basically brings us here and set in motion the sanctions, says specifically that if Iran comes to negotiate – not even get a deal, but comes to negotiate – sanctions would be lifted. We’re not doing that with respect to the arms embargo, even though not only have they come to the negotiation, they have in fact negotiated a deal.
 
So we have plenty of time over the next few years to address whatever the next steps will be in that issue, but I think that we did very well to hold on to that particular restraint, and we’ll see where we go in the future.
 
QUESTION: Congressional – the congressional override and the veto? On the – what will the Administration do if Congress has a veto-proof majority rejecting the deal?
 
SECRETARY KERRY: If Congress were to veto the deal, Congress – the United States of America would be in noncompliance with this agreement and contrary to all of the other countries in the world. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I really don’t believe that people would turn their backs on an agreement which has such extraordinary steps in it with respect to Iran’s program as well as access and verification.
 
This agreement will withstand the test of scrutiny in the next days, and I look forward to being part of that debate, obviously. We will brief Congress immediately. We will be deeply engaged in it. But I am confident that people will not choose to turn their back on the rest of the international community, on this opportunity to change a relationship, and this opportunity which is the only viable alternative to be able to guarantee there is a peaceful nuclear program and that they will not succeed or choose to get a weapon.
 
QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, it wouldn’t be a surprise to you that the sanctions – both the nuclear sanctions and others – have deeply hurt the Iranian people, from the airplanes that are falling, to the children who have needed medicine. When the Iranian people watch this presser tonight, mostly are thinking when and how quickly will the sanctions lifted, and how quickly can they see the result?
 
And they’ll also be wondering that in a political atmosphere, when every single Republican contender has promised to scuttle the deal, aren’t you worried that the hard efforts that you’ve made during this last little while will be undone by the next Administration? And what guarantees can this Administration make to prevent that?
 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, as I said, there are a series of steps that are spelled out very, very clearly in this agreement that Iran has agreed to take, that are necessary to expand the breakout time and to begin to build confidence. Those steps will begin the moment after Congress has had its review time of this agreement. At that point Iran, when it sees the results, will begin to reduce its enrichment, begin to dismantle its centrifuges and take the steps necessary to expand the breakout time and provide confidence. So that is about 60 days away. And then a few months after that the IAEA will conclude and the other things will happen. So somewhere in the vicinity of four to six months or so, depending on how rapidly Iran is able to perform its initial functions. It’s really dependent on Iran how fast that will happen, but I expect it to be somewhere in a matter of months – maybe six or so; hard to say exactly – and that will begin to make a difference.
 
With respect to this agreement, look, surviving the future, I really believe deeply that if Iran fully implements with two years already under Iran’s belt, during which time Iran’s program has effectively been frozen, and they have begun to show people that they’re not able or ready to make a bomb, I am convinced that no one will see the common sense of turning away from that so that all of a sudden the next day Iran can go out and enrich more and do everything that you’ve just tried to prevent. I am convinced that whoever is our next president will see the wisdom of this agreement and they will leave it in place.

 

QUESTION: Thank you. Secretary Kerry, Iran’s most powerful political figure, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, was not here in Vienna, and has repeatedly voiced skepticism or suspicion about agreements with the United States. He’s also said in recent days that his country will continue its opposition to U.S. foreign policy. What assurances did you get from Minister Zarif and other Iranian officials that the supreme leader does, in fact, back this agreement? And why are you confident Tehran won’t back out of the deal like they did in 2009 on the nuclear fuel swap? Thank you.
 
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, first of all, I never said I was confident that – I am like everybody else here, and I said this very clearly in my comments a few minutes ago. I said the fact of the signing of this agreement does not eliminate all of the challenges. It’s the implementation that will matter. And I’m not going to stand here and tell you that everything’s going to work without a bump, without a hitch in the road, without some misunderstanding or some effort that needs clarification.
 
What I do know is that the negotiators absolutely affirmed to us on several occasions, and most importantly in the last 24 hours, that they are operating with a full mandate from the president, Rouhani, and from the supreme leader.
 
And in a negotiation, you lay down the procedures that are expected to be taken and you lay down the consequences for not doing that. Both of those are absolutely evident and clear in this agreement, and so we obviously look forward to the implementation, but I’m not the person to vouch for the fact – which I can’t – as to exactly every step or moment in time that’s going to be taken in the next days in terms of compliance. But we have put in place ample mechanisms with respect to compliance and with respect to accountability. So I feel very confident about our ability to protect our interests, to protect the security interests that are stake, and I full, frankly, expect over the next days to see this process at least begin to be followed up on.

 

 
 

The Final Deal: Rouhani Statement

On July 14, President Hassan Rouhani welcomed the nuclear deal as a "victory" for Iran in a televised address. A dubbed video by Press TV is below, followed by excerpted remarks posted on his Twitter account.

 

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