Despite the fact that the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) labored intensively to strike a diplomatic deal with Iran, the agreement announced Nov. 23 in Geneva does not go far enough in reversing Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.
The agreement leaves Iran in a position where it can return to current levels of enrichment within a short period of time. The deal also includes the retention of Iran’s high speed centrifuges. From the announcement of the deal, it remains unclear whether Iran will permit full access, as opposed to “managed access” to all of its enrichment facilities and all other facilities where nuclear materials are developed. Tehran’s long history of deception on inspections is cause for much skepticism on this point. Already, Tehran is boasting that it has now achieved international recognition of its legal right to enrich uranium—a point it will surely use to undermine the remaining “core” sanctions against it.
The diminution of sanctions—that were years in the making—which this deal permits will weaken the international community’s ability to impose serious economic consequences in the future. What is needed now is additional economic pressure to finally force the Iranians to verifiably abandon their nuclear weapons program.