What is the Iran nuclear agreement and will the U.S. back out of it?

  • Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
12:59 p.m Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 National/World News
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York.

The Trump administration will seek to revisit the nuclear agreement with Iran, The New York Times is reporting, instead of scrapping the deal that limits Irans’s development of ballistic weapons.

According to the story, President Donald Trump hopes to tighten sanctions instead of abandoning the agreement hammered out two years ago.

The news comes after Trump suggested that Iran is not complying with the agreement while speaking to the United Nations General Assembly.
When asked if he planned to back out to the deal he has said is an “embarrassment to the United States,” Trump told reporters, “I have decided. “I’ll let you know. I’ll let you know.”

Trump’s actions have a timetable – the United States has until Oct. 15 to certify whether Iran is meeting the terms of the Vienna agreement.

What’s in the agreement and why does it matter? Here’s a look at the Iranian nuclear deal.

Under the agreement, what must Iran do?

1. All but 6,000 of the country’s 19,500 centrifuges – machines used to separate U-235, an isotope that can be used to make bombs, from mined uranium – are to be placed in storage. Mothballing the centrifuges leads to a loss of two-thirds of Iran’s ability to enrich uranium. Enriched uranium is a component of a nuclear bomb.

2. Iran will export all but 661 pounds of its 8 tons of low-enriched uranium. Low-enriched uranium is uranium with a lower concentration of U-235.

3. Storing the centrifuges and exporting the uranium would delay from three or four months to at least 12 months Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.

4. A secret plant built into a mountain – the Fordow enrichment plant—will be converted to a research center. The majority of centrifuges there will be removed, with an agreement that the remaining will not be used to enrich uranium.

5. A heavy water plant at Arak will be altered so it is unable to produce plutonium. Plutonium can be used in nuclear weapons.

6. IAEA inspectors have more access to nuclear plants in Iran.

What does the United States do?

1. If Iran completes the actions required, the United States, along with Britain, China, France, ­Germany, and Russia, will lift economic sanctions put into place after the discovery of the nuclear program. The sanctions account for about $100 billion.
2. The U.S. and the other countries will also recognize the country’s right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
3. Under the agreement, Iran will remain under a UN arms embargo for five years, while the restrictions on its nuclear weapons program will stay in place for eight years.

Sources: The Associated Press; The Telegraph;  the Iran nuclear deal

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