Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden issued the following statement today after it was verified that Iran had completed key parts of the dismantling of their nuclear weapons programs as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to last summer:
Iran remains a major threat to the United States, our allies, and interests, but it is more manageable with the Iranian regime decades rather than weeks away from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I also welcome the long-overdue release of five Americans who were being unjustly held by the Iranian regime.
Known as implementation day, this milestone marks an important step toward preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon and critically extends the time it would take Iran to build a bomb from just weeks to over a year. Iran has shipped the vast majority of its enriched uranium—some 25,000 pounds—to Russia; disabled the Arak heavy-water reactor; and moved the vast majority of its centrifuges into storage. These steps completely block both the uranium and plutonium pathways to a nuclear bomb and limit Iran’s ability to enrich uranium to levels used for a weapons program.
In exchange for Iran’s compliance, the United States, European Union, and United Nations have lifted their nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. Sanctions relief will remain conditional on Iranian compliance with the nuclear agreement, making verification extremely important. The United States should provide all the resources and technical expertise needed for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s exhaustive verification of this deal. Should Iran renege on its commitments, sanctions can and must be reimposed.
The United States and its partners must remain vigilant against Iran’s destabilizing activities through proxies in the region and around the world. With its violations of U.N. bans on ballistic missile testing, support for terrorism, and violent separatist movements, Iran continues to be a force for instability and a significant threat. There are a number of steps the United States can and should take to counter Iran’s destabilizing influence, including arms embargoes against Iranian proxies, interdiction of supplies for its missile program, and enhanced intelligence sharing with regional partners.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.7141.