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BACK TO SQUARE ONE?
The interim agreement says that as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will at some point be treated as any other non-nuclear weapons NPT member state, if it honors commitments it takes on under a final agreement.
But the big question is when? And what happens then?
The U.S. and its allies will likely seek to extend the agreement for up to 25 years for maximum assurance that Iran has forsworn any potential nuclear weapons ambitions. Samore says Iran wants the final agreement to end after five years, and when it does expire Tehran can start building its nuclear program like any other non-weapon NPT states.
That could include running tens of thousands of centrifuges, heavy-water reactors that produce substantial amounts of plutonium and other measures now worrying the international community. All are allowed under the NPT as long as the U.N. nuclear agency can find no reason to suspect that any activity is non-peaceful.
Samore agrees that could result in renewed worries but shares the view that it is impossible to single out Iran for restrictions that other NPT member states are not under once it is deemed to have dispelled concerns that it represents a threat.
The plan to push for decades of nuclear curbs rests on hopes of regime change in Iran— for what the United States considers would be a more democratic government.
"That will be so far in the distant future that it is very likely that there will a different leadership," says Samore.