The U.S. and Iran are closing in on a nuclear agreement that would allow Iran a timeline for developing a nuclear weapon. According to the AP:
The United States and Iran are working on a two-phase deal that clamps down on Tehran’s nuclear program for at least a decade before providing it leeway over the remainder of the agreement to slowly ramp up activities that could be used to make weapons.
Officials from some of the six-power talks with Iran said details still needed to be agreed on, with U.S. and Iranian negotiators meeting Monday for the third straight day ahead of an end-of-March deadline for a framework agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined the negotiations after arriving Sunday.
If this is true, it would be a template for setting off the biggest nuclear arms race ever. Given that the deal drops all barriers to the Iranian nuke program, the Saudis and others in the region are likely to step up their preparations. The Saudis in particular, as the wealthiest Sunni power, are well-positioned to tap the nuclear know-how of impoverished, Sunni Pakistan. And it’s hard to see the Turks abstaining from a regional nuclear arms race.As Walter Russell Mead noted last week, “a process that began with the goal of eliminating Iran’s potential to produce nuclear weapons has evolved into a plan to tolerate and restrict that capability.” It is quite possible that the most important foreign policy legacy of Barack Obama, who began his presidency by winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his nuclear non-proliferation efforts, will be the death of non-proliferation.