In case you've been under a rock the past couple days, the big story of the week (other than the return of Bloom County
) is that a coalition of nations reached an agreement with Iran
to constrain their nuclear program. The arrangement is fairly comprehensive, relying on extensive monitoring to ensure Iran cannot possess nor create enough enhanced uranium or plutonium to create a bomb.
Here is a breakdown
Uranium stockpile: Iran has agreed to slash its stockpile of enriched uranium by about 98 percent, from about 10,000 kilograms to less than 300 kg over 15 years. That uranium must be kept at a low-enrichment level — at 3.67 percent or less — that would prevent it from being used in a weapon over that period.
Centrifuges: The deal cuts Iran’s nuclear centrifuges by about 66 percent over 10 years, from about 20,000 to 6,000. Those centrifuges are used to isolate the isotopes needed to develop nuclear-grade materials.
Heavy water reactor: Iran will rebuild its Arak heavy water reactor so that it can no longer produce weapons-grade plutonium. The country also won’t be allowed to build a new heavy water reactor for 15 years.
Breakout time: The deal would extend Iran’s breakout time for a nuclear weapon — the time it would need to amass enough nuclear material to build a bomb — to one year, according to the White House. Iran has also agreed to restrictions on other activities required to turn nuclear material into weapons.
Nuclear weapons: Iran underscored a promise to never seek a nuclear weapon, giving the international community more leverage if it violates that pledge. Iran has also agreed to issue a statement that accounts for military aspects of the nuclear program.
This covers the next 10 years. Over that time, the current hard-liners in power will be dying off, and the younger people (who like America) will be moving into positions of power. It also gives us plenty of time to work on an extension to the treaty.