On 24 November Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany) signed a six-month interim nuclear deal in Geneva that sets the stage for the conclusion of a more detailed agreement to regulate Iran’s nuclear program – in exchange for the gradual relaxation of international economic sanctions. The agreement – reached after a decade of fruitless negotiations – promises to open a new page in relations between the US and Iran and to spark an intense debate both in Washington and among US allies. It is also expected to have a significant impact on the international oil industry when Iranian oil exports return to international markets.

Despite the fact that it is only a first step, the Geneva accord has important implications, since Iran has for the first time agreed to curb its nuclear activities. It will reduce its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium (which could be enriched to weapons grade fairly quickly), roll back enrichment to higher concentration levels, and accept intrusive international inspection mechanisms. These provisions are intended to eliminate the possibility of a swift and undetected militarization of Iran’s nuclear program. Israel, for its part, is opposed to the Geneva deal, as it does not believe that Tehran is willing to limit its nuclear ambitions. (CONTINUED - 969 WORDS)