Pollak: What We Get, What Iran Gets

In a news conference Wednesday, President Obama touted the Iran nuclear deal as a "powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy" that shows "what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength and a position of principle." So what exactly did we "accomplish"?

To answer that question, Noah Pollak has provided a devastating "balance sheet" that "cut[s] through the rhetoric surrounding the Iran deal" by listing in "simple and non-technical" terms what we get out of the Iran deal versus what the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism gets.

"The reader is free to make up his own mind about the merits of the deal and the extent to which it advances U.S. interests and U.S. security, and that of our allies," writes Pollak, but as he implies, it's hard to imagine how anyone can look at the actual terms of the deal and not agree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that this is a "stunning historic mistake."

What we get:

  • Iran reduces by about half the number of centrifuges actively enriching uranium
  • Iran reduces its stockpile of enriched uranium from about five tons to 300 kilograms
  • Iran repurposes its heavy water reactor in Arak so it does not produce plutonium
  • An unspecified increase in inspections by the IAEA

What Iran gets:

Sanctions relief:

  • Almost every type of U.S., EU, and UN sanctions lifted
  • Repeal of six UN Security Council resolutions declaring the Iranian nuclear program illegal
  • Top IRGC and Quds Force terrorists removed from the sanctions list, including Qassem Suleimani, leader of Iran’s campaign against U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and Ahmad Vahidi, mastermind of the 1994 Jewish community center bombing in Argentina that killed 85 people
  • The removal from the sanctions list of approximately 800 people and legal entities, including 23 out of 24 Iranian banks
  • $100 to $150 billion to be unfrozen and given to Iran with no restrictions on its use to purchase arms and fund terrorism, including funding for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Assad regime in Syria

Nuclear program:

  • Iran keeps every one of its nuclear centrifuges
  • Iran keeps its entire physical nuclear infrastructure, including the enrichment facilities at Fordow and Natanz and the nuclear reactor at Bushehr
  • Iran permitted to continue research and development on all of its advanced centrifuge designs, reducing nuclear breakout time at the end of the deal to weeks
  • Iran permitted to transition its allowed enrichment of uranium from older centrifuge designs to advanced designs
  • No “anywhere, anytime” inspections. Iran can delay inspection of any site for at least 24 days
  • No requirement that Iran fully disclose past nuclear weapons research and development (known as the PMD issue)
  • The P5+1 western powers pledge to collaborate with Iran on nuclear technology
  • Restrictions on enrichment – part of the “sunset” of the deal – are lifted after eight years
  • If Iran is thought to have violated the deal, in order to “snap back” sanctions a dispute resolution process must be undertaken that can last two and a half months, after which the matter can be referred to the UN Security Council. At the UNSC, the re-imposition of sanctions can be vetoed by Russia, which stands to earn billions of dollars from arms sales to a non-sanctioned Iran.

Concessions unrelated to nuclear program:  

  • Ballistic missile embargo lifted after eight years
  • Conventional arms embargo lifted after five years
  • Conventional arms embargo lifted after five years
  • Iran keeps U.S. hostages