Iran Nuclear Deal: A Look at the Winners and Losers

A closer look at the takeaways from today's historic nuclear accord.

ByABC News
July 14, 2015, 10:00 AM

— -- The history books will show that both sides got their fair share of wins and both made major concessions.



Most importantly for the United States, Iran has agreed to dismantle most of its nuclear program, guaranteeing they would not be able to make a bomb for at least one year, over the course of 10 years.


Iran’s 19,000 installed centrifuges will have to be cut to no more than 6,104 for the next 10 years. The 13,000 decommissioned centrifuges will be sent to monitored storage by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


Iran has also agreed to reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium (the material needed to make a bomb) by 98 percent and agreed to halt further enrichment. That material would either be diluted to sold.


The heavy water nuclear reactor in Arak will be redesigned, preventing Iran from producing weapons grade plutonium there. Iran will ship the spent fuel from Arak and over the next 15 years Iran will not build any new heavy water reactors.


Iran will convert its deeply buried Fordow nuclear facility into a nuclear, physics and technology center.

Snap Back

If Iran breaks its commitments, all sanctions could be quickly snapped back into place, according to the terms of the agreement.


The selling points in Tehran could be the points of derailment in Washington. While Congress has 60 days to review the agreement, it has no authority to amend it. If Congress were to create legislation to stifle the agreement it would need a two-thirds majority vote to avoid a presidential veto. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna today he doesn’t think they’ll try it, but look for Congressional Republicans to use each one of the following points to argue this is a bad deal.


Iran is most pleased with the impending relief of economic sanctions. Once it has been verified that Iran has committed to dismantling its centrifuges and diluting or selling its stockpile of enriched uranium, all economic sanctions will be lifted, effectively releasing over $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets. Economic relief was the driving incentive for Iran.

Inspections Military Sites

Most observers are likely to interpret the inspection, as it applies specifically to military sites, as a victory for Iran. UN inspectors can demand access to nuclear facilities on Iran military sites, but they aren’t immediate or even guaranteed. Any inspections at those sites would need to be approved by a joint commission composed of one member from each of the negotiating parties. The process for approving those inspections could take as many as 24 days, which critics will claim is enough time for Iran to cover up any non-compliance.

Arms Embargo

The final win for Iran is the gradual lifting of an international arms embargo. The accord states that Iran will be permitted to buy and sell conventional arms on the international market in five years; and in eight years they’ll be able to do the same with ballistic missiles. The embargo was a major sticking point throughout the talks, with Iran demanding it be lifted.

Research and Development

Iran gets to continue to conduct research and development related to its nuclear program. There will be certain limitations, but essentially they will be allowed research enrichment activities, as long as it is for peaceful purposes.