EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

January 20, 2014

Column: Iran claims a nuclear victory over the West

In November, the United States and its allies reached an interim deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The two sides released a four-page outline, then began to jockey over details of what the language meant and how the deal would be put into action.

Last week, the West and Iran finally completed an agreement that details how the temporary nuclear freeze will work over the next six months.

So what are those details? All of them?

Americans don’t know the full scope of this deal, and the Obama administration hasn’t told them. The deal is still under wraps. Some “key elements” of the agreement are in “an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials,” the Los Angeles Times reports, quoting an Iranian official.

This secrecy, although the Obama administration doesn’t use that word, is frustrating and ridiculous. The deal takes effect today. Officials have been ironing out the details for weeks. Both sides are proclaiming victory. After the latest deal was signed, Iran President Hassan Rouhani took to the Twitterverse to taunt the West that “the world powers surrendered to the Iranian nation’s will.”

Enough bluster. Time for a full public airing. Let’s see how the United States and its allies plan to make sure Iran sticks to its promises to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

This much we’ve been told: Iran is supposed to dilute or neutralize its stockpile of higher enriched uranium, which is close to weapons grade. Tehran also is supposed to stop installing new centrifuges. It is supposed to forgo starting any centrifuges that aren’t already operating. It is supposed to allow inspectors to visit its declared nuclear sites daily to ensure that it is not cheating.

That’s a lot of supposing. How will all that compliance be guaranteed? We cannot say, but there are signs of trouble ahead.

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