Q10: What was being offered required of Iran in the proposed deal on the table at Geneva? Would that be enough to stop the Iranians from building a nuclear weapon?

Only a preliminary agreement, not a final deal, was on the table at Geneva. Neither side would be getting all or even most of what it wants in such an agreement.

What Iran reportedly was willing to offer in even a preliminary agreement, however, was substantial—especially an end to enrichment of uranium to 20 percent. This is one of the most important steps in keeping Iran away from any production of weapons grade fissile material.

Whether or not a two-phase approach was or is wise, it is the framework agreed to by the P5+1 and Iran. It is tempting to try to pull final-phase objectives into the first phase, while telling Iran to wait for the final phase to get major sanctions relief. This is what France tried to do at Geneva. But we should not be surprised when Iran responds by saying no or by insisting that it should get more of what it wants in the first phase, too.

 

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