Placating Congress the Key to Any Iran Deal

Negotiations have begun on the first draft of a permanent P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran. With the July 20 end to the interim deal fast approaching, coming up with a pact to settle the issue once and for all is a high priority, and time is of the essence.

Yet coming to a deal that the P5+1 leaders and Iran can both live with is likely the least of their problems, and Congressional hawks’ opposition to the deal will be looming large, along with Israel’s aversion to any deal in general.

The “grand compromise” must simultaneously be reasonable enough for Iran to accept, while seeming to stick it to Iran enough that Israeli lobbying against the deal can be downplayed.

That means much of the focus will not be on things even nominally related to a hypothetical nuclear weapons program, but to strictly limiting Iran’s civilian nuclear program, particularly the scope of its civilian uranium enrichment.

So while 3.5% enrichment isn’t even theoretically a proliferation risk, a lot of the talks are expected to center on limiting exactly how much enrichment can take place at those levels, with an eye toward keeping Iran’s program small and reliant on the international community.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of