Five compromises to avoid in a comprehensive agreement with Iran

Olli HeinonenOlli Heinonen discusses compromises that the P5+1 must avoid when negotiating a final nuclear agreement with Iran.  A recent report with David Albright and Andrea Stricker of the Institute for Science and International Security, outlines proposed parameters that would be a step too far to be part of a workable long term deal.


By Olli Heinonen

Concluding a final nuclear deal with Iran and P5+1 will require extensive diplomacy to bridge gaps in views with regard to the scope and content of Iran’s nuclear program. Yet, if the deal is to endure and provide a degree of confidence that Iran will not break out to a bomb undetected, some compromises must be avoided. We worked with David Albright and Andrea Stricker to assess the implications of some public suggestions for a deal against a list of key criteria including breakout times, irreversibility, stability, and verifiability. When these criteria were applied, five compromises failed to meet the standard that the international community must uphold for a deal to be considered a success:

  • Increasing allowed centrifuge numbers above 2000-4000 IR-1 centrifuges  in exchange for lowering low enriched uranium (LEU) hexafluoride and oxide stocks toward zero;
  • Allowing Iran to maintain in the Arak reactor a core holding significantly more fuel channels than required for fueling the reactor with low enriched uranium fuel;
  • Agreeing that Iran’s centrifuge plants can maintain installed but non-enriching centrifuges at nuclear sites in addition to the enriching centrifuges allowed in the deal;
  • Leaving the resolution of Iran’s past and possibly ongoing nuclear weaponization and military fuel cycle efforts until after a deal is concluded and economic and financial sanctions are loosened, if not removed; and
  • Lack of verifiable constraints banning future Iranian illicit nuclear procurement efforts.

Read the full report here.