The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
About three months after it was officially adopted, the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was fully implemented this weekend. On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had taken steps required by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to limit its nuclear program, including reducing its supply of uranium, dismantling thousands of centrifuges and disabling its plutonium reactor. The IAEA’s report paved the way for Iran to begin receiving sanctions relief and for the Agency to begin increased monitoring of the country’s nuclear program.
Milestones in the JCPOA so far have been marked by a series of ‘days:’ Finalization Day, Adoption Day and finally Implementation Day. While inspections aimed at verifying Iran’s compliance with the deal will be constantly taking place, the next major ‘day,’ Transition Day, will not take place until 2023 at the latest. For more information about the steps that led to implementation and what will happen in the future, check out this helpful timeline from the Center for Strategic and International studies.
While U.S. and foreign leaders had hinted at Implementation Day’s arrival throughout last week, two more surprising developments in U.S.-Iran relations occurred over the weekend as well. First, after 14 months of secret negotiations that began on the sidelines of the nuclear talks but continued separately, the U.S. and Iran announced a prisoner exchange that freed four Americans and seven Iranians on Saturday as well. The next day, the Treasury Department placed sanctions on 11 companies and people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Since October, Iran has tested a ballistic missile and revealed a secret underground missile depot, both in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Since ballistic missile development is not covered by the JCPOA, the U.S. can continue to impose sanctions in response to these actions.
Responding to these events, URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs called upon the Obama Administration to “ensure that Iran is held to the strictest of standards to ensure international security going forward.” With every step this deal has taken, our Movement has been focused on addressing concerns we raised in August related to an effective inspections regime, Iran’s continued violation of human rights and religious freedom within its borders, its support for terror abroad, Israel’s security and America’s international standing. As the JCPOA enters a new phase, we will continue to evaluate its success with an eye to these major issues. To learn more about our work in this area, check out the RAC’s Iran issue page.
Feature image courtesy of the International Atomic Energy Agency.