preclude Iran from shortening the time it would need to produce enough bomb-grade uranium for a nuclear device even further, and would provide additional warning if Iran sought to "break out" of its commitment to pursue only a peaceful nuclear programme.
A second and even more contentious debate centred on whether an initial deal would, as the Obama administration said, serve as a "first step" toward a comprehensive solution of the nuclear issue, one that would leave Iran with a peaceful nuclear programme that could not easily be used for military purposes.
Some experts, including a former official who has worked on the Iranian issue for the White House, said it was unlikely that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, would ever close the door on the option to develop nuclear weapons. Instead, they said, any initial six-month agreement is more likely to be followed by a series of partial agreements that constrain Iran's nuclear activities but do not definitively solve the nuclear issues.
The agreement also reflected compromises on other issues. On the contentious issue of the heavy water reactor Iran is building near Arak, Iran agreed not to produce fuel for the plant, install additional reactor components there or put the plant into operation. Iran is not required to dismantle the facility, however, or convert the plant into a light water reactor that would be less useful for military purposes.
Regarding enrichment, Iran's stockpile of such low-enriched uranium would be allowed to temporarily increase to about eight tonnes from about seven tonnes currently. But Tehran would be required to shrink this stockpile by the end of the six-month agreement back to seven tonnes. This would be done by installing equipment to covert some of that stockpile to oxide.
To guard against cheating, international monitors would be allowed to visit the Natanz enrichment facility and the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo on a daily basis. But Iran did not agree to all of the intrusive inspection regime that the International Atomic Energy Agency had said was needed.
The key points
* Iran to halt uranium enrichment above 5%...