What Does Iran's Nuclear Deal Mean?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

From the Associated Press:

Despite some remaining differences, a deal has been reached with Iran that will allow the U.N. nuclear agency to restart a long-stalled probe into suspicions that Tehran has secretly worked on developing nuclear arms, the U.N. nuclear chief said Tuesday.

What does this mean? It means that Iran has found an easy way to create the appearance of progress so that it may pursue its main goal of the moment, which is to forestall an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities by convincing President Obama and other Western leaders that it is serious about compromise. If Obama and other leaders are convinced they are making genuine progress with Iran, the pressure on Israel to postpone military action will become overwhelming. When Iran agrees to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, or agrees to shutter its centrifuge facility near Qom, that's when you can start paying attention.

The Obama Administration understands this, of course. Critics on the right believe that Obama will cave and agree to a deal that would allow Iran to continue down the path toward nuclearization, but these critics are misreading Obama, and his seriousness on this issue. On the other hand, Obama disagrees with the Israeli position, which is, no enrichment whatsoever, but the Israeli stance is more of a bargaining point than anything else. It's hard to believe the Israelis would attack if Iran were only enriching uranium to 3.5 percent.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/what-does-irans-nuclear-deal-mean/257517/