Speaking from the White House on Saturday night to announce a late-night deal between Iran and the United States, European Union, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, President Obama triumphantly stated that the negotiated agreement was the “first step” toward a more “comprehensive solution,” but neglected to mention how this step would lead to nuclear disarmament.
Obama reiterated that he was “determined” to prevent Iran from going nuclear, mentioning that his administration presided over “unprecedented” sanctions, despite the fact that his administration is now loosening those sanctions in exchange for precisely nothing. Nonetheless, Obama, looking somewhat nervous as he glanced at his teleprompters on left and right, stated that the west would now have the opportunity to verify that the Iranian nuclear program was “peaceful,” stating that the deal would mean that “parts” of the program would be halted.
According to Obama, Iran would now be prevented from creating the next generation of centrifuges, and would be expected to halt its plutonium reactor work; inspections, Obama stated, would be plentiful. But he added that this planning would “limit” – not stop – the path to a nuclear weapon.
Recognizing the weakness of the agreement, Obama assured the American public that Iran would not be able to use negotiations to buy time, although he did not explain how that would be prevented. He then detailed the west’s concessions to Iran: no new sanctions, as well as cash. That was the carrot; the stick, Obama said, would be a cut-off in American relief.
Obama gave the Iranians their most-wished-for point: he said they should be able to access “peaceful nuclear energy,” and said the agreement would carry the parties forward for six months, bowing to “chip away” at mistrust with Iran.
Obama said that diplomacy was the only path toward a durable solution, despite Israel’s insistence that negotiations with Iran merely incentivized Iran, which has already violated numerous United Nations resolutions, to continue its work. But Obama called his diplomacy “strong and principled.”