The nuclear deal struck with Iran last night is either "a triumph," or something we shouldn't be all that excited about just yet. Dueling columnists weigh in:
- Guess what: The deal is exactly what President Obama was going for, an agreement that—when details were leaked a few weeks ago—no one thought Iran would agree to, writes Fred Kaplan at Slate. The interim agreement requires Iran to stop enriching uranium above 5%, freeze the stockpile of uranium enriched to 3.5%, neutralize the stockpile enriched to 20% so it cannot be used for weapons, halt work on centrifuges and enrichment facilities, permit more and better inspections, and more. "The agreement makes it impossible for the Iranians to make any further progress toward making a nuclear weapon in the next six months—and, if the talks break down after that, and the Iranians decide at that point to start building a nuclear arsenal, it will take them much longer to do so." Kaplan calls it "a triumph," adding that only a very small percentage of the sanctions on Iran will be freed up in exchange. It's a first step "rife with historic possibilities." Full column here.
- On Politico, Aaron David Miller takes a more wary approach. Yes, this deal could end up being a "historic" part of US-Iran relations, but "we should be careful about putting on the party hats and breaking out the champagne—at least for now, anyway." He lays out five reasons why. Among them: Israel isn't happy with the deal, which could make for "a diplomatic trainwreck." But perhaps the most serious problem: In Miller's opinion, the deal doesn't go far enough to put the brakes on Iran's nuclear program (it should have "limit[ed] centrifuges and [sought] ironclad assurances that Iran can’t reconvert its enriched uranium stockpile into useable material"), meaning we must consider the consequences if a comprehensive accord is not reached within the six-month limit—which it likely won't be. "We need to be honest with ourselves about what’s achievable." Full column here.
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