The agreement clinched in Geneva between Iran and major world powers is the Obama administration’s most significant diplomatic achievement, and though ‘all options’ remain on the table officially, cooler heads in Washington and Tehran have both understood that even a modest deal is preferable to maintaining the status quo.
The US and Iran have different interpretations of the agreement and its impact on the right to enrich uranium in the long term. Though the current six-month interim agreement technically allows uranium enrichment to continue at 5 percent, Iranian FM Javad Zarif believes that a comprehensive deal eventually brokered after the current pact will fully accept Iran’s uranium enrichment process within the bounds of international law, while at the same time lifting all the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
On the other hand, Secretary of State John Kerry maintains – with maximum condescension – that “there will be a negotiation over whether or not they could have a very limited, completely verifiable, extraordinarily constrained program, where they might have some medical research or other things they can do, but there is no inherent right to enrich.”
The carefully-worded presentation of the pact – delivered by Obama and Kerry with trademark arrogance – was intended to ease the concerns of US hawks, Saudi spinsters, and Israeli belligerents as diplomats unveiled the most significant agreement between Washington and Tehran since the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution.