After many months of principled diplomacy, the P5+1 -- the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany -- along with the European Union, have achieved a long-term comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran that will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and ensure that Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful going forward.
Today, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the Iran deal before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he joined Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in outlining why the Iran nuclear deal is vital. Secretary Kerry said, "...The choice we face is between an agreement that will ensure Iran's nuclear program is limited, rigorously scrutinized, and wholly peaceful, or no deal at all. That's the choice."
As it stands today, Iran has a large stockpile of enriched uranium and nearly 20,000 centrifuges, enough to create 8 to 10 bombs. If Iran decided to rush to make a bomb without the deal in place, it would take them 2 to 3 months until they had enough weapon-ready uranium (or highly enriched uranium) to build their first nuclear weapon. Left unchecked, that stockpile and that number of centrifuges would grow exponentially, practically guaranteeing that Iran could create a bomb -- and create one quickly -- if it so chose.
This deal removes the key elements needed to create a bomb and prolongs Iran’s breakout time from 2-3 months to 1 year or more if Iran broke its commitments. Importantly, Iran won’t garner any new sanctions relief until the IAEA confirms that Iran has followed through with its end of the deal. And should Iran violate any aspect of this deal, the United Nations, United States, and European Union can snap the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy back into place.
"The truth is that the Vienna Plan will provide a stronger, more comprehensive, more lasting means of limiting Iran's nuclear program than any alternative that has been spoken of. And to those who are thinking about opposing the deal because of what might happen in year 15 or 16 or 20, remember: If we walk away, year 15 or 16 or 20 starts tomorrow, and without any of the long-term verification or transparency safeguards that we have put in place," Secretary Kerry said.
- Read Secretary Kerry's full opening remarks before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
- Go to www.WhiteHouse.gov/Iran-Deal and follow @TheIranDeal on Twitter.