What Iran’s compliance with nuclear deal means

The International Atomic Energy Agency declared Saturday that Iran had fulfilled requirements to limit its nuclear activities.


Q: What did Iran do to comply?

A: Iran had to ensure its atomic work remains peaceful for the next 15 years by reducing its low-enriched uranium stockpile by 98 percent; dismantling 12,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium; and disabling the core of a nuclear reactor.


Q: What sanctions were lifted?

A: The European Union rescinded restrictions on trade and investment in oil, petrochemicals, metals, shipping, shipbuilding, banking, insurance and other related services. The United States halted the application of nuclear-related restrictions on Iran’s financial, oil, gas, petrochemical, shipping, metal and automotive industries and removed hundreds of individuals and companies from blacklists that had subjected them to asset freezes and other penalties.

The U.S. also will allow imports of Iranian carpets, pistachios, saffron and caviar, and — perhaps most important — it will permit foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies, with certain restrictions, to do business in Iran.


Q: How quickly will Iran benefit economically from these changes?

A: The most immediate benefit to Iran will be access to roughly $100 billion of its money that was frozen in foreign accounts.

Q: How will the lifting of sanctions change relations with the United States?

A: Economic relations, at least, are not expected to change much because of other non-nuclear sanctions related to Iran’s activities. Many U.S. companies have little interest in navigating the complicated web of restrictions that remain in force.

However, political relations, while still estranged after 35 years, showed signs of easing even before Sunday.

One of the starkest examples was Iran’s seizure of 10 Navy sailors who had errantly trespassed into Iranian territory in the Persian Gulf last Tuesday and their release less than 24 hours later. While critics of the Obama administration said Iran scored a propaganda victory at America’s expense, others said the speedy resolution reflected the close ties between Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, forged over the course of the nuclear negotiations.


Q: What about longer-term relations with the United States?

A: It is premature to say. But under the nuclear deal, the United States is committed to taking legislative action that would permanently remove the sanctions — provided that Iran sticks to its pledges as well.

Some analysts believe the agreement could start a slow thaw between the two countries over the next few years.

New York Times