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Five Times Vox Failed to Explain the Interim Nuclear Deal with Iran

New York Times reports that Tehran has increased its nuclear stockpile by about 20 percent during negotiating period

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Salehi talk outside with aides after a morning negotiation session with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry in Lausanne
Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Salehi talk outside with aides after a morning negotiation session with U.S. Secretary of State Kerry in Lausanne / Reuters
• June 2, 2015 4:00 pm

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The New York Times reported Monday that Iran has increased its nuclear fuel stockpile by about 20 percent during 18 months of talks with the United States and other world powers, raising questions about the Obama administration’s claims that Tehran’s nuclear program has been frozen during the negotiating period.

The Times report appears to challenge some of the assertions made by proponents of the talks and a final nuclear deal with Iran, such as that there would be no cost to U.S. negotiators sitting across the table from Tehran and lifting some sanctions.

Vox, a website that prides itself on "explaining the news," has been a consistent supporter of the interim nuclear deal with Iran that began Jan. 20, 2014, also known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). It has also praised a recent framework agreement reached between Iran and the United States—the last step before a June 30 deadline for a final deal—as "astonishingly good."

Here are five times Vox explained why the interim agreement curbed Iran’s nuclear program, before the revelation this week that Tehran has boosted its nuclear stockpile:

1. April 10, 2015: "In 2013, as a major first step in securing a nuclear deal, Iran and the U.S., along with other world powers, agreed to an interim deal known as the Joint Plan of Action. The agreement froze Iran's nuclear program and lifted some economic sanctions temporarily, as a holdover until the countries could reach a final, comprehensive agreement."

2. December 29, 2014: "Obama had some major accomplishments in his historic effort to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. Two of the biggest: getting Iran and Western powers to agree to July's "Joint Plan of Action," a temporary interim deal that looked pretty solid; and miraculously keeping Congress or Israel from sabotaging the deal, despite their best efforts. Those were both big deals and solid steps toward a permanent deal, which would be an historic legacy accomplishment."

3. November 24, 2014: "The interim deal reached in 2013, the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), will remain in place. JPOA is a temporary deal that gives Iran limited sanctions relief in exchange for a number of concessions on nuclear issues. Most notably, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent u-235, a kind of uranium that is not enriched enough for a nuclear warhead but that is partway there."

4. November 13, 2014: From an interview with Jacques Hymans, associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California: "It's very difficult to argue the interim deal hasn't been a success. You had a program [in Iran] that was enriching pretty large amounts of uranium up to the 20 percent level. What you do when you go from 3-5 percent [enriched] uranium that's used in commercial power to 20 [percent enriched uranium] is you cut the time that it would take you to get to 90 percent [enriched uranium], the bomb-grade uranium, in half…The deal stopped that enrichment up to 20 percent, at least as far as the facilities we know about. In fact, it actually rolled it back by a considerable amount. So this agreement has clearly been a positive step from the U.S. national interest perspective."

5. November 6, 2014: "In November 2013, the Obama administration struck an interim deal with Iran called the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA). As part of the JPOA, the U.S. agreed to limited, temporary sanctions relief in exchange for Iran limiting nuclear program components like uranium production."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published under: Iran, Nuclear Iran, Nuclear Weapons