Analysis: ‘It would be difficult for Iran to start secret nuclear program now’

(From L) Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius react during a statement on early November 24, 2013 in Geneva.
From left, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Nov. 24 in Geneva.
Credit: Getty Images

In a groundbreaking agreement, Iran has agreed to halt nuclear enrichment in exchange for a partial lifting of international sanctions. But what does the deal mean?

Metro spoke with Michael Elleman, a Bahrain-based senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Elleman is a respected expert on Iran with good contacts on both the Iranian and American sides.

Metro: How important is the agreement?

Elleman: It’s an interim agreement, and the first step of many, but it’s an important step for several reasons. Firstly, it establishes contact between the U.S. and Iran. There have been several attempts at doing that over the past 30 years, but none has been successful. It also puts institutions in place that will maintain contact between Iran and its negotiation partners. That will be very helpful for issues [that] come up along the way. Lastly, the Iranians acknowledge that they have enough 20 percent-enriched uranium, and have also agreed to halt construction of their nuclear reactor.

What about verification?

Iran has accepted very important measures. With this agreement, it agrees to daily inspections as opposed to twice weekly, which is what we’ve had before. The international inspectors will also meet all the engineers and scientists, which is very important, because if you know the people you’ll notice if they’re missing. In other words, it would be very difficult for Iran to start a secret nuclear program now.

Who deserves credit for the agreement?

All sides made important concessions. If it had only been the U.S. and Iran negotiating, people would have pointed the finger at Obama for being weak. Now, with the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members, plus Germany and the EU, involved, it gives the agreement credibility. The Omanis are unsung heroes, because they hosted the secret negotiations leading up to the Geneva talks.


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…


Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…


Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…