One year after the P5 + 1 countries and Iran reached their historic nuclear agreement on July 14, 2015, U.S. officials are hailing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, as a win for efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and a win for diplomatic engagement in solving seemingly intractable problems.
In a statement released on the anniversary, President Barack Obama pointed out that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran has implemented its nuclear related commitments under the agreement. “It has shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium, dismantled two thirds of its centrifuges, filled its plutonium production reactor with concrete, and adopted the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated for a nuclear program,” Mr. Obama said.
“As a result, all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed, and Iran’s breakout time has been extended from two to three months to about a year.”
President Obama noted too that the United States and its negotiating partners have also fully implemented their commitments to lift nuclear-related sanctions, and will continue to do so, as long as Iran lives up to its obligations under the deal.
“The JCPOA demonstrates what can be achieved by principled diplomacy and a sustained commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons,” Mr. Obama said. “We still have serious differences with Iran, but the United States, our partners and the world are more secure because of the JCPOA.”
In remarks in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry said the nuclear deal has enhanced the world’s safety “because conflict in the region is not calculated on the basis of the potential of a nuclear confrontation or nuclear explosion.” He also observed that the JCPOA “underscores the value of diplomacy itself…That’s why,” Mr. Kerry said, “we will continue to try to work first, before we decide to go into conflict, to see if we can resolve these kinds of problems.”
Secretary of State Kerry noted that the JCPOA focused on the nuclear issue, and that there are other issues involving Iran, including its sponsorship of terrorism and destructive behavior in Syria and Yemen, that remain as challenges.
But regarding the JCPOA, Mr. Kerry said, “The world can take pride in the fact that this multilateral, complicated negotiation has produced a result which makes the region less volatile and makes the world itself safer.”