The recently concluded framework agreement between the EU 3+3 and Iran is a great step forward for the global non-proliferation regime. Just weeks before the Review Conference of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), this is an excellent demonstration of diplomatic solutions to pressing problems.
Although the final deal has yet to be struck, the framework agreement appears to include some elements that will please even the most cynical policy analyst. The US published a fact sheet outlining the parameters of the deal and there are some gems.
Surpassing other non-proliferation agreements, this framework includes the manufacturing capacity for the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium to make it weapons usable. This was one of the surprising elements for me, as I didn’t think the Iranians would give up not only significant quantities of enriched material, but show good faith and demonstrate their willingness not to covertly develop future enrichment capacities. Agreeing to the Additional Protocol is fantastic (and necessary!) but this goes deeper (code 3.1) and demonstrates willingness to be much, much, much more transparent than its negotiating partners! (Side note: All of the EU 3 + 3 states have nuclear weapons on their soil. Germany is the only one that refuses to admit it. Transparency starts zu Hause!)
Still, there is a long way to go before this deal is fully finalised. The schedule for sanctions relief is a question, and it is already well known that the US will have domestic troubles making that happen, there is not much trust in the US, even of the IAEA (remember Iraq?). However, one hopes and anticipates that other actors will be able to move more quickly to provide some sanctions relief, at least as complementary show of good faith, of course, they could also get rid of their nuclear weapons.
For civil society analysis of the deal, see:
Foreign Policy, Carnegie Endowment, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists