Nuclear and Peaceful

Announced on Thursday, April 2, the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States and five other world powers deserves to be classified as “historic,” as the American president called it.

The document, the goal of which is to keep Tehran away from the development of an atomic bomb, might bring closure to one of the largest points of contention in the Middle East in a peaceful way and drastically change the geopolitics of the region.

It’s true that the pact is still in preliminary stages, with various items to be defined before the signing of the final document, slated for June. However, optimism is staked on the outcome of negotiations in Switzerland: More terms than expected were met, both in detail and scope.

The provisions of the agreement seek to ensure that Iran will only pursue peaceful uses for its nuclear program. Beyond this, the provisions will try to guarantee that, if the country were to cheat, it would take at least a year to develop a bomb, time the international community would have to take preventative action.

The Iranian government accepted cuts of two-thirds to the number of centrifuges. With a smaller number of these devices used for enriching uranium, the country will have a far more diminished capacity for producing fuel to power a nuclear weapon.

Iran also made a commitment to enrich its uranium to 3.67 percent over the next 15 years, a high enough concentration to produce energy but much lower than that which is necessary for a bomb — 90 percent. In accordance with the agreement, nuclear facilities will also be dismantled and rigorous international monitoring for 25 years will be put into place.

In exchange for these directives, the USA, European Union and the U.N. will gradually remove sanctions imposed on Iran, normalizing its relations with the international community and reintegrating it with the global economy.

Obama is proving to be determined to make this into his foreign policy legacy. For this, however, he will have to overcome opposition from both the Republican Party, which is willing to create obstacles to the lifting of sanctions by the U.S. Congress, and from Israel.

The USA’s most important ally in the Middle East maintains that the pact does not eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat. Perhaps fearing a probable restructuring of forces in the region, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is counting on undermining the agreement.

Despite the resistance and the large amount of work left to be done, a decisive step has been taken in one of the most troubled areas on the planet: A promising demonstration of the fact that diplomatic means and other multilateral forums were not discredited by the numerous conflicts of recent decades.

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