On April 2, 2015, representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France, the Russian Federation, Germany (collectively, the P5+1), the European Union (EU) and Iran agreed on the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding Iran’s nuclear program. If finalized and implemented, the JCPOA would lead to the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions by the U.S. and the EU against Iran. However, other U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses and ballistic missiles would remain in place. The parties will continue to meet between today and June 30, 2015 to work out the details of the JCPOA. The tentative deal could collapse if the P5+1 and Iran are unable to agree on the final details of the JCPOA. Under the tentative deal, the U.S. and the EU agreed to lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA. The legal framework for sanctions will remain in place. If Iran, at any time, fails to fulfill its commitments under the JCPOA, any sanctions lifted by the U.S. and the EU may “snap-back” into place. In addition, core provisions in United Nations Security Council resolutions dealing with the transfer of sensitive technologies and activities to Iran will be reestablished by a new resolution that will endorse the JCPOA and urge its implementation. Restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles, as well as provisions that allow for related cargo inspections and asset freezes, will be incorporated into this new resolution. A State Department fact sheet describes key parameters of the proposed JCPOA. They include the following:
- Reduction of Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity and its current stockpile of low-enriched uranium;
- Conversion of the facility at Fordow into a research and nuclear physics lab;
- Limited enrichment of uranium only in the city of Natanz;
- Greater IAEA access and information regarding Iran’s nuclear program;
- Establishment of a procurement channel for monitoring and approval of the supply, sale or transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual-use materials and technology;
- Modification of the heavy-water reactor at Arak under international supervision; and
- Phasing of measures regarding the limitation of Iran’s domestic enrichment capacity, research and development, and additional elements of its nuclear program.