Initial Deal on Iran’s Nuclear Program

The United States, other UN Security Council permanent members, and Germany reached an initial understanding with Iran aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. The six-month agreement freezes parts of Iran’s uranium-enrichment programs, halts work to expand its nuclear facilities, and subjects the country to new inspections, according to a White House release on Nov. 23, the same day the parties announced the deal. The United States and other nations, in return, will refrain from imposing new sanctions on Iran and allow it access to some revenue that existing sanctions have denied it, states the release. “This first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program,” said President Obama that same day. But some lawmakers and allies remained skeptical. In a release, Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.) said the agreement “could be a dangerous step that degrades our pressure on the Iranian regime,” a situation he deemed reminiscent of past experience with North Korea. Israel denounced the deal as an “historic mistake,” reported Reuters. (See also White House fact sheet.)