Analysis & Opinions - The Boston Globe

The World Can't Afford A Nuclear Iran. Keep the Current Deal

| Oct. 04, 2017

When the Iran nuclear agreement was concluded more than two years ago, many questioned whether Tehran would live up to its terms. Incredibly, now it’s our continued compliance that’s in question. If the president pulls the United States out — either by failing to certify Iranian compliance without clear evidence of violations or by making a clean withdrawal — he will trigger a crisis that will significantly increase nuclear dangers.

A nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to the region and the world and must never be allowed to happen. The 2015 nuclear agreement is foundational for preventing this outcome, not an enabler as President Trump and others have suggested. If the United States walks away from our obligations, Iran could walk away without notice. To understand the stakes, it’s important to be clear about what this agreement accomplished and what we would lose if the United States causes the deal to collapse.

First, we would lose important restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities. As a physicist involved with the US nuclear weapons program for decades, I know what it takes to build a nuclear bomb. As the principal negotiator of the final Iran deal nuclear provisions, I know that its 159 pages of unprecedented detailed requirements are a significant barrier to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Without the agreement, restrictions that effectively block every potential path to an Iranian bomb for more than a decade would vanish. We would lose stringent limits that have already reduced Iran’s stockpiles of enriched uranium by 98 percent, kept uranium enrichment at or below 3.67 percent, reduced the number of installed centrifuges by two-thirds and limited their technology. We also would lose prohibitions that keep Iran from producing significant amounts of plutonium, require all spent nuclear fuel to be sent out of the country, and prevent any kind of research or development that could contribute to a nuclear weapons program.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Moniz, Ernest.“The World Can't Afford A Nuclear Iran. Keep the Current Deal.” The Boston Globe, October 4, 2017.

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