The US Secretary of State said the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran cut off all pathways for the country to develop a nuclear weapon.
In his departure memo on Thursday, John Kerry said:
“In 2009, Iran was marching forward on the path toward being able to acquire enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, and the world was divided over how to confront this growing threat to international security. While the United States had a full range of options available to us, we knew that a diplomatic solution was the most durable and verifiable way to ensure we met President Obama’s pledge to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
“Leading with diplomacy, the United States painstakingly brought the world together – including countries like Russia and China – in an unprecedented coalition to establish an international sanctions regime intended to change Iran’s calculus. At the United Nations Security Council, we led the effort to impose the toughest multilateral sanctions in history on Iran. And working closely with Congress, we expanded our unilateral sanctions as well, all with the goal of bringing Iran to the negotiating table.
“Sanctions alone could not have ended the threat from Iran’s nuclear program, nor were they intended to do so. Even as its program continued to advance, installing 19,000 centrifuges and stockpiling enough enriched uranium to make several bombs, the objective was always to test whether the increased pressure had made a negotiated solution possible and to ultimately avoid the need for war.
“Given the history of mistrust and the serious issues at stake, we knew this would be a tough challenge. After reaching out to Iran through bilateral channels and more than two and a half years of intense multilateral negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran agreed on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement that has verifiably cut off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.
“Before the JCPOA, Iran was under 90 days away from having the material necessary to produce one nuclear weapon. Today, because of the JCPOA, they are at least a year away – and the unprecedented transparency measures allow us to know almost immediately if Iran fails to comply, giving us plenty of time to act. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has been reduced by 98 percent – not anywhere close to what’s needed to make a single nuclear weapon. Iran has removed two-thirds of its installed centrifuges from its nuclear facilities, along with the infrastructure that supported them, and those materials are sealed under continuous monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Iran has halted all uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow facility, and removed all fissile material from the site. Iran has removed the Arak reactor’s core and filled it with cement, ensuring that it can never be used again. All of this is subject to the most extensive transparency and verification regime ever negotiated. The IAEA now also has visibility and accountability of the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, from start to finish.
“Pursuant to the JCPOA, the United States and our partners have, in turn, lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran – the sanctions we put in place precisely to reach this kind of diplomatic solution. This has created opportunities and the prospect of a better future for the Iranian people. As for the Iranian government, while we have made clear we are open to a different future should its many objectionable policies change, it has yet to demonstrate a willingness to do so. Our relationship remains highly contentious – and we must maintain our pressure and continue to push back on Iran’s missile program, its support for terrorism, its disregard for human rights, and its destabilizing interference in the affairs of its neighbors as long as these threats persist.
“In reaching and implementing this deal, we took a major security threat off the table without firing a single shot. The United States, our partners and allies in the Middle East (including Israel), and the entire international community are safer today because of the JCPOA.”
(Source: US State Dept)