“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, with these words of wisdom passed down from Vito to Michael Corleone, the family business was able to thrive. It seems these words of Italian wisdom were not lost on President Barack Obama either.
When Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski announced her support for the landmark Iran nuclear deal, it meant that opponents to the deal will not have the requisite 67 vote threshold to over-ride the Presidential veto of the Resolution of Disapproval, which would have prevented the administration from lifting some Congressional sanctions on Iran.
The key points of the deal for the U.S. and the rest of the world are this:
1) The United States has gotten Iran to dismantle most of its nuclear program guaranteeing they would not be able to make a bomb for at least one year, over the course of 10 years.
2) Iran’s 19,000 installed centrifuges will have to be cut to no more than 6,104 for the next 10 years.
3) Iran has also agreed to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium (the material needed to make a bomb) by 98 percent and agreed to halt further enrichment
4) If Iran breaks its commitments, all sanctions could be quickly snapped back into place, according to the terms of the agreement.
But it’s not all rainbows and Unicorns for the world powers, in order to get these concessions from Iran, a lot had to be given up as well. This is what Iran gets in this deal:
1) Iran is most pleased with the impending relief of economic sanctions. Once it has been verified that Iran has committed to dismantling its centrifuges and diluting or selling its stockpile of enriched uranium, all economic sanctions will be lifted, effectively releasing over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
2) Iran gets to continue to conduct research and development related to its nuclear program. There will be certain limitations, but essentially they will be allowed research enrichment activities, as long as it is for peaceful purposes.
3) UN inspectors can demand access to nuclear facilities on Iran military sites, but they aren’t immediate or even guaranteed. Any inspections at those sites would need to be approved by a joint commission composed of one member from each of the negotiating parties. The process for approving those inspections could take as many as 24 days, which critics will claim is enough time for Iran to cover up any non-compliance.
4) The final win for Iran is the gradual lifting of an international arms embargo. The accord states that Iran will be permitted to buy and sell conventional arms on the international market in five years; and in eight years they’ll be able to do the same with ballistic missiles. The embargo was a major sticking point throughout the talks, with Iran demanding it be lifted.
So it is a deal that both sides both like and hate. When that happens, you generally know it was a good deal. But sadly, not everyone in this country and around the world feels this way.
Israel, for one, is not happy with the deal at all. They are afraid it will give the Iranians an easy shot to attack them. I can’t say I blame the paranoia running rampant there, after all ever since 1948 when it was declared a country, someone has had it out for them. But this is bigger than just Israel.
In trying to allay some the fears of Israel and other Gulf States, Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter outlining security commitments to Israel and the Gulf States, including plans to increase missile defense system funding to Israel.
In this country, the Republicans, for the most part, do not like the idea of lifting the economic sanctions on Iran. They feel that it is weak and will allow the Iranians to re-establish their nuclear program and become even more dangerous in the very near future.
Even Presidential candidate Marco Rubio had some very strong feelings about it tweeting:
“When I’m President, we won’t just reverse President Obama’s dangerous Iran deal. We will increase sanctions on Iran.”
But Vice President and democratic hopeful Joe Biden took a different tact tweeting:
“The #IranDeal is the best available option to block Iran from a bomb. It is in our national security interests.”
So while his second term in office may be winding down, this deal may be the one thing that people will remember Obama for. Let’s hope those memories are good ones. Not because I want a Democrat to be right, but because if he is wrong, the world will be a very different place in 10 years.