Brief: The Iranian Nuclear Deal
On Saturday, a historic deal was struck in Geneva by which Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions (usually monetary fines, certain trade laws used to deal harm, etc). Basically, the deal is a six-month halt to Iran’s program while the leaders can work out a more permanent deal.
Naturally, supporters of a tougher line against Iran were disappointed in the deal, which is effectively a six-month pause on the program before an actual deal is reached. Some members of Congress began urging new legislation to punish Tehran (Iran’s capital) with major sanctions next year in no permanent deal is reached.
The basic framework of the deal temporarily relaxes a small set of sanctions on Iran — freeing up billions of dollars for the regime — in exchange for Tehran agreeing to suspend aspects of its nuclear program for six months. The idea is to give negotiators a set time frame to work out a more substantial follow-on agreement, without allowing Iran to continue pursuing nuclear weapons, while Tehran continues its talks with the negotiating team made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
The deal requires that Iran stop certain nuclear enhancement processes and submit to international inspections - but certain enrichment activities are still allowed, which was disappointing to some. The danger that Obama faces is that Congress will impose further sanctions on Iran in such a way that pushes Tehran out of the deal - leaving the President to blame. Congress loves to sanction Iran - the laws often have unanimous support in the Senate and near unanimity in the 435-member House.
Journalist Stephen Collinson said that “if a final deal can be reached, it will likely be the centerpiece of [Obama’s] foreign policy legacy.”