Our Views: An early deal, not final one

In the bureaucratic prose of the White House, there is real wisdom about the otherwise celebrated deal with Iran on the rogue state’s nuclear program: It is “a set of initial understandings that halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolls it back in key respects.”

Initial, and halts — both are important words, and suggest that after the enthusiasm for the deal from Washington to Tehran is exhausted, there are some hard bargaining days ahead. What is initial is not final, and what is halted can be restarted.

Five major powers, assisted by the European Union, are on the same page with the United States, despite the angst of Israel’s hard-line Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For some modest concessions on international sanctions, the initial understandings have a chance to become a final deal over the next six months.

For Iranians, who voted in large numbers for a relative moderate in their last presidential election, there is enthusiasm for both easing of sanctions and a process, however, initial, to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

A final deal might achieve that, so long as there is no backsliding from the stiff requirements that the international community will demand, including the elimination of a plutonium reactor and essentially unlimited inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Iran’s initial concessions, in other words, will have to be followed up with a great deal more before the deal is final.