Negotiating with Iran

The United States and other world leaders have agreed on a way to implement a joint plan of action aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, according to statements from the White House and Department of State. Beginning Jan. 20, Iran will begin eliminating its stockpile of highly enriched uranium while also dismantling some of the infrastructure it uses to create such uranium. The effort marks the first time in more than a decade Iran has agreed to such specific efforts to halt its nuclear weapons program, said President Obama in a Jan. 12 statement. “New and more frequent inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites will allow the world to verify that Iran is keeping its commitments,” said Obama. “In return, over the next six months, the United States and our P5+1 partners—the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union—will begin to implement modest relief . . .” Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran will gain access to the $4.2 billion in restricted assets through “regular installments throughout the six months.” Both Obama and Kerry thanked Congress for the “unprecedented” sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table, but cautioned that further sanctions could do more damage than good. “Now is not the time for politics. Now is the time for statesmanship . . . ,” said Kerry in a Jan. 12 statement. He noted the US is “clear-eyed” about the challenge of negotiating a comprehensive agreement, but said it’s “the best chance we have to resolve this critical national security issue peacefully, and durably.