Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the negotiations for the United States in the final rounds, sought in his remarks Tuesday to blunt criticism on this point.
“Iran will not produce or acquire highly enriched uranium” or plutonium for at least 15 years, he said.
“I really do not care if this is a victory for us or not,” he said. If we compromised, so be it.”One of the last, and most contentious, issues was the question of whether and how fast an arms embargo on conventional weapons and missiles, imposed starting in 2006, would be lifted.
After days of haggling, Secretary of State Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, agreed that the missile restrictions would remain for eight years and that a similar ban on the purchase and sale of conventional weapons would be removed in five years.
That limit, combined with a two-thirds reduction in the number of its centrifuges, would extend to a year the amount of time it would take Iran to make enough material for a single bomb should it abandon the accord and race for a weapon — what officials call “breakout time.” By comparison, analysts say Iran now has a breakout time of two to three months.