President Barack Obama today gave a comprehensive speech on the nuclear deal with Iran at the American University in Washington. To read the text of the speech, please click here. Following are few highlights:
- In July, we reached a comprehensive of plan of action that meets our objectives. Under its terms, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon. And while Iran, like any party to the nuclear non- proliferation treaty, is allowed to access peaceful nuclear energy, the agreement strictly defines the manner in which its nuclear program can proceed, ensuring that all pathways to a bomb are cut off.
- Under this deal, Iran cannot acquire the plutonium needed for a bomb. The core of its heavy reactor at Arak will be pulled out, filled with concrete, replaced with one that will not produce plutonium for a weapon. The spent fuel from that reactor will be shipped out of the country, and Iran will not build any new heavy water reactors for at least 15 years.
Iran will also not be able to acquire the enriched uranium that could be
used for a bomb. As soon as this deal is implemented, Iran will remove
two-thirds of its centrifuges. For the next decade, Iran will not enrich
uranium with its more advanced centrifuges. Iran will not enrich uranium at the
previously undisclosed Fordo facility, which is very deep underground, for at
least 15 years.
Iran will get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium,
which is currently enough for up to 10 nuclear bombs for the next 15 years.
Even after those 15 years have passed, Iran will never have the right to use a
peaceful program as cover to pursue a weapon, and in fact this deal shuts off
the type of covert path Iran pursued in the past.
There will be 24/7 monitoring of Iran's key nuclear facilities. For
decades, inspectors will have access to Iran's entire nuclear supply chain,
from the uranium mines and mills where they get raw materials to the centrifuge
production facilities where they make machines to enrich it. And understand why
this is so important.
- And finally, Iran has powerful incentives to keep its commitments. Before getting sanctions relief, Iran has to take significant concrete steps, like removing centrifuges and getting rid of its stock piles. If Iran violates the agreement over the next decade, all of the sanctions can snap back into place. We won't need the support of other members of the U.N. Security Council, America can trigger snap back on our own.
- We have no illusions about the Iranian government or the significance of the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force. Iran supports terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our allies, including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq.
- I recognize that resorting to force may be tempting in the face of the rhetoric and behavior that emanates from parts of Iran. It is offensive. It is incendiary. We do take it seriously... But superpowers should not act impulsively in response to taunts or even provocations that can be addressed short of war. Just because Iranian hardliners chant "Death to America" does not mean that that's what all Iranians believe.
- Walk away from this agreement, and you will get a better deal -- for Iran.
Photo credit: President Obama speaks Wednesday (Susan Walsh/AP)