Learn More About the Historic Iran Deal

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The Iran Deal is Working

The Iran Deal is Working

On January 16, 2016, the International Atomic Energy Agency verified that Iran completed the necessary steps under the Iran Deal to ensure Iran's nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful. Before this agreement, Iran's breakout time -- or the time it would have taken for Iran to gather enough fissile material to build a weapon -- was only two to three months. Now, because of the Iran Deal, it would take Iran 12 months or more. And with the unprecedented monitoring and access this deal puts in place, if Iran tries to build a bomb, we will know and sanctions will snap back into place.

Here's how we got to this point. Since October 2015, Iran has:

  • Shipped 25,000 pounds of enriched uranium out of the country
  • Dismantled and removed two-thirds of its centrifuges
  • Removed the calandria from its heavy water reactor and filled it with concrete
  • Provided unprecedented access to its nuclear facilities and supply chain

To learn more about these steps, watch the video above, read the statement by Secretary Moniz and expore INFOGRAPHIC: How Do We Know Iran Isn’t Building a Nuclear Bomb?​ To learn more about the different pathways to a nuclear weapon, read below. 

Blocking the Four Pathways to a Nuclear Weapon

Building a nuclear bomb requires either uranium or plutonium. The Iran Deal blocks four possible ways to leverage those fissile materials.


The Uranium pathways at Natanz and Fordow

The first two ways Iran could build a bomb involve uranium. Before the agreement, Iran had nearly 20,000 centrifuges enriching uranium at two facilities -- the Natanz facility and the Fordow facility -- and had amassed a stockpile of enough highly-enriched uranium to build 8 to 10 bombs.

Since the Iran Deal came into effect, international inspectors verified that Iran reduced its stockpile of uranium by 98% and removed two-thirds of its centrifuges. Today, no enrichment is allowed at the Fordow facility. At Natanz, Iran will be allowed to use only their oldest and least efficient models, and will keep its level of uranium enrichment at 3.67% -- significantly below the enrichment level needed to create a bomb.
In short, here’s the difference:

The Plutonium pathway at the Arak reactor
The third way Iran could build a nuclear weapon is by using weapons-grade plutonium. The only site where Iran could accomplish this is the Arak heavy water reactor. Since the deal came into effect, the core of the Arak reactor has been removed and filled with concrete. Now an international team of experts will redesign the Arak reactor for research purposes, ensuring it cannot produce any weapons-grade plutonium. These steps eliminate Iran’s only source of weapons-grade plutonium.
A covert pathway to building a secret nuclear program

The previous three pathways occur at known nuclear facilities. In case Iran attempts to build a bomb in secret, the Iran Deal established unprecedented verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear facilities and supply chain. 

International inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will continuously monitor every element of Iran’s declared nuclear program. They will also verify that no fissile material is transported to a secret location to build a bomb. If IAEA inspectors become aware of a suspicious location, Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement, which will allow inspectors to access and inspect any site they deem suspicious. Such suspicions can be triggered by holes in the ground that could be uranium mines, intelligence reports, unexplained purchases, or isotope alarms. 

Learn more about the IAEA’s monitoring and verification measures here: INFOGRAPHIC: How Do We Know Iran Isn’t Building a Nuclear Bomb?


Bottom Line: The Iran Deal is Based on Science and Verification

Watch Secretaty Moniz, a nuclear physicist, explain in-depth the science that underpins every part of this agreement: