It was a landmark event last week when the International Atomic Energy Agency officially certified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. The news received some press coverage, but it deserved much more.
Tehran has now exported 97% of its enriched uranium, disassembled 13,000 centrifuges (two thirds of its total), and poured concrete into the core of its former plutonium reactor. In return the US has lifted nuclear proliferation-related sanctions and returned frozen assets. Germany and other European states have done likewise and are already moving to renew investments.
Iran has dismantled its infrastructure in record time, at a faster pace than other cases of denuclearization. The experience with Iran stands in sharp contrast with the prolonged and confrontational disarmament process in Iraq after 1991. The disarmament approach with Iran has been much quicker, smoother and also more effective because it includes unprecedented inspection access.
Some of the most rigorous monitoring protocols ever established are now coming into place in Iran, all with the full consent and cooperation of Iranian authorities. It’s the most comprehensive nonproliferation agreement ever negotiated.
Now that’s something to celebrate. Let’s make “Implementation Day” an annual holiday as a tribute to effective diplomacy and peaceful nuclear nonproliferation.
Plan now for your local party on the date next January!
In the meantime, let’s keep vigilant and do what we can to ensure that the compliance process continues to run along smoothly.