President Obama and his team made a significant number of concessions to Iran to reach the nuclear agreement announced on Tuesday, bringing the final deal much closer to what Iran wanted than what Obama and other administration officials once promised. The following is a list of six major concessions the Obama administration made to Iran, which will be updated as more details emerge about the deal.

Uranium enrichment

In April 2012, then National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, said, "Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions."

In Nov. 2013, after the initial blueprint for the agreement was struck, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted to ABC News, "We do not recognize a right to enrich."

During negotiations, the U.S. eventually set a ceiling of 500 to 1,500 centrifuges for enriching uranium.

Obama, in touting Tuesday's deal, boasted "Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges." But two-thirds of centrifuges is equivalent to 6,000 — or roughly four times more than what was just months ago seen as the ceiling. Furthermore, the "removed" centrifuges won't be dismantled, they will merely be stored.

Nuclear bunker

Iran's Fordow nuclear facility is built in a bunker underneath a mountain. In Dec. 2013, Obama said at the Brookings Institution: "We know that they don't need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordow in order to have a peaceful nuclear program."

But the deal not only preserves Fordow under the notion that it will be used for scientific research, but the international community will be working with the Iranians on developing new centrifuge technology at the facility.

Ballistic missiles

Back in early 2014, the Obama administration was talking about capping Iran's ballistic missile development. "They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program," then White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

In Feb. 2014, chief U.S. negotiator Wendy Sherman told the Senate, "that in these first six months we have not shut down all of their production of any ballistic missile that could have anything to do with delivery of a nuclear weapon, but that is, indeed, going to be part of something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement."

Just last week, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate, "under no circumstances should we relieve pressure on Iran relative to ballistic missile capabilities and arms trafficking."

Caving into a late demand by the Iranians, the agreement will get rid of the U.N. embargo on conventional arms sales to Iran within five years, and ballistic missiles within eight years.


Within six months to a year, Iran will have access to $100 billion to $150 billion in unfrozen assets due to the unwinding of sanctions, a total that doesn't include the economic windfall to come once international firms begin doing business in Iran. As a leading sponsor of terrorism according to the State Department, Iran would thus have more money available to distribute to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.

Initially, the Obama administration argued that all of the sanctions being lifted would exclusively have to do with the nuclear program – this was their way of justifying why they didn't make Iranian sponsorship of terrorism or human rights violations a part of any deal. On Apr. 2, the White House press release outlining the parameters of the deal said, "U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal." But the final deal provides much broader sanctions relief to Iranian financial institutions and individuals. The deal even unwinds sanctions against Qasem Soleiman, commander of the Quds Force, which has provided aid to Hamas and Hezbollah, and killed American soldiers in Iraq.

Obama on Tuesday claimed, "If Iran violates the deal, all of these sanctions will snap back into place." But this is misleading. In reality, the only way that sanctions can be re-imposed is if the majority on an international panel agrees to it. The panel would include China, Russia and Iran itself. So effectively, if the U.S. wanted to re-impose sanctions, the administration would have to get Britain, France, Germany and the EU on board – and all of them would effectively have to admit they were duped by Iran.

This also raises another question: How would the international community verify whether Iran was abiding by the deal?


After the April parameters were announced, Obama declared, "If Iran cheats, the world will know it." But that's unlikely under the negotiated deal. Though inspectors would have access to Iranian facilities, they would not have "anytime, anywhere" inspections. Instead, the inspections must be done in consultation with Iran, and the agreement provides various ways for Iran to delay inspections for up to 24 days – meaning they'd have plenty of time to hide any nuclear work.

Sunset clause

Though Iranians would be getting substantial relief under the current deal in the near-term, the Obama administration agreed to make the restrictions on its nuclear program only temporary. The U.S. originally proposed making the deal last for 20 years, but under the newly negotiated deal, the restrictions on its nuclear program would begin to erode after 10 years. By that time, under the deal, hundreds of billions of dollars would have been pumped into the Iranian economy and Iran would have been able to stockpile conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, making the jump to a nuclear weapons power with ease.