The Iran nuclear deal simplified in seven key points
What Iran got: All nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be removed, many as early as this year. This is expected to quickly release to the Iranian government more than $100 billion worth of assets frozen overseas by the U.S. Treasury and will give the Iranian government and Iranian companies broad access to European and American markets. Sanctions imposed upon the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Quds Force, and its commander, Qasem Soleimani, will also be lifted.
What Iran gave: In return for this economic windfall, Iran is giving Western inspectors access for several years to many of its sensitive nuclear and military sites, and it is also promising to limit its levels of uranium enrichment and its uranium stockpile. Iran also did not get relief from energy and financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. linked to Iran’s human rights abuses or its support of terrorist groups and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
For how long?: The current nuclear-related sanctions are very possibly gone forever. The only way by which they could be reimplemented would be via a dispute resolution process (popularly referred to as a “snapback” of sanctions) in which one of the parties submits a complaint to an arbitration panel consisting of the U.S., Britain, Russia, Germany, France, China, the E.U. and Iran. If the complaint can’t be resolved, the U.N. Security Council will have to vote on the sanctions.
[POLL: Weapons sanctions
What Iran got: The current ballistic missile embargo against Iran will disappear after a maximum of eight years, and the conventional weapons embargo will disappear after a maximum of five years.
What Iran gave: This is contingent on Western inspectors and diplomats agreeing that Iran’s nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, a determination that would require Iran abide to by its end of the inspections agreement.
For how long?: Like the economics sanctions, the weapons sanctions will be gone once they’re lifted and can only theoretically be reapplied via the dispute resolution process.
Does this mean Iran's regional allies (Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis) will see a weapons windfall?: Because the arms embargo won't be lifted for several years, Iran would have to continue finding a way around existing weapons sanctions to arm it's regional terror allies. But more consequential could be that with the immediate release of $100 billion to $150 billion in frozen oil revenues, Iran could very possibly simply transfer money to its allies in the region who could then figure out a way to purchase weapons.
What Iran got: Iran will be able to keep all of its nuclear facilities.
What Iran gave: Iran will be restricted from using certain centrifuges and will have to conduct all research and development at its Natanz nuclear plant. It will not be allowed to conduct any uranium enrichment or enrichment research and development at Fordow, and also will not be allowed to store any nuclear material there. Iran will not be allowed to build new heavy water reactors or buy any heavy water.
For how long?: 15 years.
What about the heavy water reactor at Arak?: Heavy water is a key component of any plutonium production program and under the terms of this agreement Iran must “rebuild and redesign” the Arak heavy water reactor, cannot use it to produce weapons grade plutonium, and must ship all “spent fuel” out of Iran for the lifetime of the Arak reactor.
Will Iran be allowed to build new heavy water reactors?: Yes, after 15 years Iran can build new reactors and can accumulate heavy water, even though the restrictions set on the Arak reactor appear to last for as long as Arak does.
What Iran gave: Iran will only be allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent, which is enriched enough for use in a nuclear power plant, but not in a bomb.
For how long?: 15 years.
What Iran gave: Iran must reduce the stockpile of its enriched uranium to below 300 kilograms from its current level of about 10,000 kilograms, making the creation of a nuclear weapon more difficult for the duration of this restriction.
For how long? 15 years.
What Iran gave: Iran currently has about 20,000 centrifuges and will have to bring that number down to 6,000, making the creation of a nuclear weapon more difficult for the duration of this restriction.
For how long?: After 10 years these restrictions are lifted.
What Iran gave: The International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) will have broad access to Iranian uranium ore concentrate plants, nuclear enrichment sites and sites with centrifuges. The IAEA can also inspect any site it deems suspicious, but Iran has 24 days to comply with that request.
For how long?: Some of the inspection provisions apply for 15 years, some for 20 years and some for 25 years. Beyond that, Iran isn’t required to submit to any IAEA inspections.
Will inspectors have 24/7, “anytime, anywhere” access to suspicious sites?: No. The IAEA will first have to explain to Iran why they want to inspect a suspicious site. Then, Iran will have 3 weeks to either resolve the IAEA's concerns or give inspectors access. After that, the “snapback” dispute resolution process could kick in.
Update: July 16, 9 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to add and clarify certain key elements of the deal.
Update: July 17, 1:30 p.m. ET: Heavy water is specifically a key component of any plutonium production program, not for any nuclear weapons program. A nuclear weapon, though, must include either weapons-grade plutonium or uranium.