Nuclear deal abandons 40-year old U.S. nonproliferation policy of prohibiting the spread of enrichment technology
Second, the November 2013 accord abandoned a four-decade-long American and international policy of prohibiting the spread of enrichment technology even to friendly, democratic countries. In fact, since the 1970s the global non-proliferation regime—the agreements, understandings, organizations, and policies designed to restrict the spread of nuclear armaments—has had three main pillars: the Nonproliferation Treaty of 1968, which prohibits signatory countries that do not already have them from getting nuclear weapons; the even more important series of American security guarantees that have successfully persuaded countries capable of getting the bomb, such as Germany and Japan, that they do not need it because the American nuclear arsenal adequately protects them; and the various measures designed to limit the distribution of the technology for enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium (another route to the bomb). Without public or Congressional debate, and as the result of the secret negotiations that yielded the November 2013 framework, the Obama Administration abandoned the third pillar. As a result, it will henceforth be extremely difficult to prevent other countries, at first in the Middle East but ultimately elsewhere, particularly in East Asia, from equipping themselves with the capacity for enrichment.