Arms Control Experts Say ‘Both Sides Have Come Too Far to Walk Away’
For Immediate Release: June 30, 2015
Media Contacts: Kelsey Davenport, nonproliferation policy director, [email protected]; Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, 202-463-8270 ext 107; Timothy Farnsworth, communications director, 202-463-8270 ext. 110.
(Washington D.C. and Vienna)—Our sources in Vienna and in other key capitals indicate that the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran negotiators are making progress and the two sides are on their way to reaching agreement on the technical implementation of the key remaining issues, within the next several days.
These are complex negotiations, but most of the major and most difficult political decisions have already been made and the negotiators are within sight of reaching a final agreement by their revised July 7 deadline.
It is important to get all the details right so that there are no ambiguities or weaknesses in the final agreement that complicate effective and timely implementation—or that can be exploited by hard line opponents of a negotiated solution in Tehran and Washington.
Despite claims from some political pundits who suggest there are “vast differences,” the positions of the two sides overlap just enough to allow each side to meet their core concerns. For instance, some critics and press outlets erroneously assert that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has ruled out any inspections of Iran’s military sites. A more careful reading shows that Khamenei said Iran will not allow “unconventional” inspections.
However, inspections under the terms of the additional protocol are not “unconventional.” Iran already has an additional protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it implemented voluntarily from 2003 to 2006, and has agreed to implement and ratify under a final nuclear deal with the P5+1.
It is unrealistic and unnecessary to have carte blanche access to Iran’s military sites to verify Iran’s compliance with this agreement. Iran, like any other country, has legitimate concerns about safeguarding sensitive military sites. Yet, for effective verification, the IAEA must be able to promptly access sites when and if concerns arise and with reason, as is permitted under the terms of the IAEA additional protocol, which Iran has already agreed to implement and ratify. Establishing a dispute mechanism to broker fair compromises between Iran and the IAEA in a timely manner if disputes over access arise will also be helpful.
A wide range of nonproliferation and security experts agree that a final agreement based on the parameters agreed to on April 2 at Lausanne is clearly in the interest of both Iran and the international community. When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. It will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities, many of which will last for 10 years, some for 15 years, some for 25 years. Iran’s plutonium path to the bomb will be eliminated, its potential to “breakout” and amass enough bomb-grade uranium for one bomb will be expanded to at least 12 months.
Just as importantly, the deal will put in place a layered monitoring regime, which will include IAEA inspections under Iran's additional protocol and modified code 3.1 safeguards provisions that will last indefinitely.
This is an historic moment—both sides have come too far to walk away from an effective, long-term verifiable deal that blocks Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons.
—Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy, in Vienna and Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, in Washington D.C.