The New York Times reports: The foreign policy chief of the European Union and Iranian officials announced a landmark accord Sunday morning that would temporarily freeze Tehran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping accord.
After marathon talks that finally ended early Sunday morning, the United States and five other world powers reached an agreement with Iran to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program, and some elements would even be rolled back. It was the first time in nearly a decade, American officials said, that steps were taken to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program and roll some elements of it back.
The freeze would last six months, with the aim of giving international negotiators time to pursue the far more challenging task of drafting a comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could be used only for peaceful purposes.
“We have reached agreement,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s chief foreign policy official, posted on Twitter on Sunday morning.
According to the accord, Iran would agree to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent. To make good on that pledge, Iran would dismantle the links between networks of centrifuges.
All of Iran’s stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop to weapons-grade fuel, would be diluted or converted into oxide so that it could not be readily used for military purposes.
No new centrifuges, neither old models nor newer more efficient ones, could be installed. Centrifuges that have been installed but which are not currently operating — Iran has more than 8,000 such centrifuges — could not be started up. No new enrichment facilities could be established. [Continue reading…]