summary and q&a of the iran nuclear deal

Date: 22nd October 2017.

A lot has been said about the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. It was agreed on 14th July 2015 in Vienna by China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I have written a summary of key points of the JCPoA and a Q&A also found below. I have highlighted particularly noteworthy parts in bold. The JCPoA can be found here.

The JCPoA also has separate five separate annexes: Annex I, Annex II: Sanctions and listed persons and entities, Annex III, Annex IV, and Annex V. I have not summarised the annexes.

This summary can be used a guide to assist those dealing with a large amount of information. The number listings match the JCPoA itself, I do this with the intention that if you wish to know more information about a certain part, you can quickly find what you are looking for on the JCPoA.

Preface:

  • The E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and the Islamic Republic of Iran agree through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) that Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful.
  • The JCPoA will contribute to international peace and security.
  • Iran reaffirms that it will not ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
  • The JCPoA through this multilateral agreement is a view to increase international co-operation and build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s programme.
  • The JCPoA reflects mutually determined parameters, consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on the scope of Iran’s nuclear programme.
  • The JCPoA includes comprehensive measures that provide verification and transparency.
  • The JCPoA lifts all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including areas on trade, technology, finance and energy.

Preamble and General Provisions:

i. The JCPoA is to be endorsed by the UN Security Council. (Resolution 2231 (2015)) done on 20th July 2015)

ii. The full implementation of the JCPoA will ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

iii. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances Iran will ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.

iv. Iran will enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purpose in accordance with the NPT (Non-proliferation treaty).

v. The JCPoA lifts all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including areas on trade, technology, finance and energy.

vi. The E3/EU+3 and Iran reaffirm their commitment to the UN Charter.

vii. The E3/EU+3 acknowledge the NPT is the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

viii. The E3/EU+3 and Iran commit to implement the JCPoA in good faith, based on mutual respect and refrain from acts inconsistent with its intent. The JCPoA builds on its implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPoA) agreed in Geneva on November 2013.

ix. A Joint Commission will be established to monitor the implementation of the JCPoA. The Joint Commission will address any issues arising from the implementation of the JCPoA.

x. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be requested to monitor the nuclear related measures in this JCPoA. The IAEA will provide regular updates to the Board of Governors and the UN Security Council. Rules and regulations on the protection of information will be observed.

xi. All provisions and measures in this JCPoA are only for those involved (E3/EU+3 and Iran). They should not be considered for any other state and should not be considered as fundamental principles in international law.

xii. Technical details are mentioned in the Annex.

xiii. The EU and E3+3 countries and Iran will co-operate in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

xiv. The E3+3 will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council endorsing the JCPoA. The resolution will terminate existing resolutions and provide a conclusion of consideration on Iran 10 years after Adoption Day.

xv. The JCPoA will be implemented for a time below, and detailed in the Annex.

xvi. The E3/EU+3 and Iran will meet a ministerial level every 2 years, or earlier if necessary, to review and assess developments.

E3/EU+3 and Iran will take the following voluntary measures:

Nuclear

A. Enrichment, Enrichment research and development, stockpiles

1. Iran voluntarily agreed to a long term plan of limiting all uranium enrichment and specific uranium research and development for the first 8 years. After this, Iran can evolve at a reasonable pace to the next stage of enrichment for exclusively peaceful purposes.

2. Iran will phase out IR-1 centrifuges in 10 years.

3. Iran will conduct enrichment research and development in a way that does not accumulate enriched uranium.

4. As Iran will phase out IR-1 centrifuges, Iran will not manufacture or assemble other centrifuges, except as provided under Annex 1.

5. Iran will exclusively carry out uranium enrichment in the Natanz facility, and keep the level of uranium enrichment up to 3.67%.

6. Iran will convert the Fordow facility into a nuclear, physics and technology centre. All enrichment related infrastructure will be removed and stored under IAEA monitoring.

7. During the 15 year period, Iran will keep its uranium stockpile under 300kg of up to 3.67% enriched uranium.

B. Arak, Heavy water, Reprocessing

8. Iran will redesign and rebuild a modern heavy water research reactor in Arak. The reactor will support peaceful nuclear research.

9. Iran plans to keep up with the international technological advancement of light water for future power use.

10. There will be no additional heavy water reactors in Iran for 15 years.

11. Iran intends to ship out all spent fuel from all future and present power.

12. For 15 years Iran will not engage in spent fuel reprocessing.

C. Transparency and confidence building measures

13. Iran will apply the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and implement modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement.

14. Iran will fully implement the “Roadmap for Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding issues” agreed with the IAEA to address past and present concerns of nuclear programme.

15. Iran will allow IAEA to monitor the voluntary measures set out in this JCPoA. These measures include:

                                I. A long term IAEA presence in Iran

                               II. IAEA monitoring of uranium ore concentrate for 25 years

                              III. IAEA surveillance of centrifuge rotors for 20 years

                              IV. Use of only IAEA approved technologies

                              V. A mechanism to resolve IAEA access concerns for 15 years

16. Iran will not engage in activities that could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device. This includes uranium or plutonium activities.

17. Iran will cooperate and act in accordance of the JCPoA, as endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Sanctions

18. The UN Security Council resolution endorsing this JCPoA will terminate existing resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue:

  • UN Security Council Resolution 1696 (2006)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1737 (2006)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1747 (2007)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1803 (2008)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1835 (2008)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 1929 (2010)
  • UN Security Council Resolution 2224 (2015)

19. The EU will terminate all provisions of EU Regulation on Iran of nuclear related economic and financial sanctions.

20. The EU will terminate all provisions of EU Regulation on Iran of proliferation related sanctions, 8 years after Adoption Day or whenever the IAEA conclude nuclear material remains for peaceful purposes.

21. The United States will cease the application of sanctions specified in Annex II of the JCPoA.

22. The United States will allow for the sale of commercial aircraft and related parts to Iran.

23. 8 years after Adoption Day, or whenever the IAEA conclude nuclear material remains for peaceful purposes, the United States will seek legislative action to terminate the sanctions specified in Annex II of the JCPoA.

24. The E3/EU + United States specify a full list of sanctions in Annex II and will lift them in accordance with Annex V.

25. If a law in the United States is preventing the lifting of sanctions specified in the JCPoA, the United States will seek appropriate steps lift it.

26. The EU will refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing sanctions it has terminated implementing under this JCPoA. There will be no new nuclear related UN Security Council sanctions and no new EU nuclear related sanctions. The United States will make best efforts in good faith to sustain this JCPoA. The U.S Administration will refrain from re-introducing or re-imposing the sanctions lifted as specified in Annex II. The US Administration will refrain from imposing new nuclear related sanctions. Iran will treat such re-introduction of the sanctions specified in Annex II grounds to cease performing its commitments under this JCPoA.     

27. The E3/EU+3 will take measures to ensure the clarity and effectiveness to the lifting of sanctions under the JCPoA.

28. The E3/EU+3 and Iran commit to implement this JCPoA in good faith and in a constructive atmosphere, based on mutual respect. Senior Government officials from the E3/EU+3 and Iran will support the successful implementation of the JCPoA, including in their public statements.

29. The EU and the United States will refrain from any policy intended to adversely affect economic relations with Iran inconsistent with their commitments not to undermine the success of this JCPoA.

30. The E3/EU+3 will not apply sanctions or restrictive measures to persons or entities engaging in activities covered by the lifting of sanctions as specified in Annex II.

31. Under the timing specified in Annex V, the EU will terminate measures on individuals and entities under those specified in Annex II. The United States will remove designation of certain entities and individuals on the Specially Designated Nationals, Blocked Persons List and Foreign Sanctions Evaders List in accordance with those specified in Annex II.

32. EU and E3+3 and international participants will engage in joint projects with Iran in the field of peaceful nuclear technology.

33. The E3/EU+3 and Iran will agree on steps to ensure Iran’s access in trade, technology, finance and energy.

Implementation Plan

34. Iran and the E3/EU+3 will implement the JCPoA commitments under timing specified in Annex V. The key milestones are:

                                I. Finalisation Day – the date in which negotiations are concluded (it was July 14th, 2015), to be followed by UNSC resolution to be adopted (it was 20th July, 2015).

                              II. Adoption Day – 90 days after the UNSC resolution is adopted, or an earlier date agreed by mutual consent. (it was October 18th, 2015)

                            III. Implementation Day – (it was Jan 16th, 2016) the day which the IAEA report verifies implementation by Iran of nuclear related measures, and the EU and United States lift nuclear related sanctions on Iran.

                            IV. Transition Day – 8 years after Adoption Day or on the day which the IAEA submit a report from the Director General stating all nuclear material in Iran remains for peaceful purposes. The EU and US will remove and terminate provisions as mentioned under Annex V.

                              V. UNSC resolution Termination Day – 10 years after Adoption Day, the day that the resolution endorsing this JCPoA terminates according to its terms, providing that any provisions of previous resolutions have not been reinstated.

35. The sequences in Annex V are without prejudice to the duration of JCPoA commitments in this JCPoA.

Dispute Resolution Mechanism

36. If Iran believed any or all of the E3/EU+3 were not meeting their commitments, Iran could refer to the Joint Commission for resolution. If any or all of the E3/EU+3 believed Iran was not meeting their commitments, any or all of the E3/EU+3 could refer to the Joint Commission for resolution. The Joint Commission have 15 days to resolve the issue. If any participant who feels it is not resolved, the participant could refer the issue to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Ministers would have 15 days to resolve the issue. Any complaining participant beyond this could refer the issue to an Advisory Board consisting of three members. The Advisory Board will provide a non-binding opinion in 15 days. If the complaint still has not been resolved, the issue could be grounds to cease its commitments under the JCPoA and/or notify the UN Security Council.

37. Upon receipt of the complaint by the UN Security Council, the UNSC shall vote on a resolution to continue with the lifting of sanctions. If the resolution is not adopted, the provisions of the old UNSC resolutions would be re-imposed, unless the UNSC decide otherwise.

End of JCPoA.

q&A on the iran nuclear deal

There has been tension with Iran and the U.S throughout history which I have written about in a previous article here.

Why Iran, and why did this agreement happen?

In a report by the Director General of the IAEA on 8th November 2011 that was for official use, but was derestricted on the 18th November 2011 entitled: “Implementation of the NPT (Non-proliferation Treaty) Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, it expressed that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device. Articles 43 and 44 are noteworthy:

43. The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:

  • Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);
  • Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);
  • The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and
  • Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).

44. While some of the activities identified in the Annex have civilian as well as military applications, others are specific to nuclear weapons.

Before the JCPoA took shape there were wide multilateral sanctions on Iran through UNSC resolutions, US sanctions and EU sanctions. These sanctions had a detrimental effect on the Iranian economy, and an agreement was reached to lift certain sanctions in return for monitoring and inspecting Iranian nuclear facilities.   

How did Iran respond?

Iran have always maintained that their nuclear power program is only for peaceful purposes, and the assertion that Iran are developing, or have acquired a nuclear weapon is fabricated. A statement released by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 13th October 2017 expresses: “Iran has demonstrated its good will by entering into and its conclusion of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 to resolve a fabricated crisis.”

What is the JCPoA in a nutshell?

It is the most intrusive inspection regime ever submitted to voluntarily by a state. It is a rare example of sanctions bringing a state to the table to negotiate. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Is it good? Is it working?

Perhaps the best approach to tackle this question is to hear what the impartial investigating agency are saying, the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA are satisfied that Iran is in compliance with the JCPoA. According to John Glaser, Director of Foreign Policy at the Cato institute, the IAEA have already conducted around 450 inspections in Iran.[1]

In a statement on the 13th October 2017, Director General of the IAEA Yukiya Amano stated:

“The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented…the IAEA has had access to all locations it needed to visit…At present, Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”

The UK, France and Germany have said that Iran is in compliance with the JCPoA: “The UK, France and Germany are clear that while Iran’s destabilising activities in the region are unacceptable, the regime has upheld its nuclear commitments.”

The EU said: “All 28 EU member states stand united behind the Iran deal, which has been effective in limiting the country's nuclear programme.”

The current High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said: "We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and former CIA Deputy Director John McLaughlin all agree that it is in the US’s interest to stay in the JCPoA.[2]

China is committed to the JCPoA, Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated: “China always supports and safeguards the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue, and will continue to push all parties to faithfully fulfill the agreement.”

In a press release from the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs following a meeting between the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia and Iran:

“The officials had a detailed exchange of opinions on the current situation around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) for the Iranian nuclear programme… Mr Ryabkov reiterated Russia's commitment to fulfil its obligations under the JCPOA.”

Why did Trump announce his decertification of it, and what happens next?

A US law entitled the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act was put in place in May 2015 to give US Congress oversight of the agreement. Based on this, the President has to re-certify the JCPoA every 90 days. Trump did this on two occasions previously (the most recent being 17th July). On Friday 13th October 2017 President Trump announced his decertification of the JCPoA:

“I am announcing today that we cannot and will not make this certification.”

The November 2011 IAEA report expressing that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device is a strong factor for the necessity of the JCPoA. They have since announced that Iran is complying with the JCPoA. So why is Trump decertifying it, and what happens now?  

Trump has said that the JCPoA is not in the US’s national interests, but has not given specific details. Vox news reported:

“Trump doesn’t hate the Iran deal for policy reasons. He’s never offered a detailed public policy case against it, and experts don’t really believe he has one. “I don’t think anyone actually thinks he knows anything about the particularities of this agreement,” says Sarah Kreps, a professor at Cornell University who studies arms control agreements.”

Business insider reported:

"He doesn't want to certify the Iran deal for more domestic reasons than international ones," Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, told The Washington Post. "He doesn't want to certify that any piece of the Obama strategy is working."

Now that he has announced decertification, it goes to Congress who have 60 days to decide if it wants to re-impose sanctions, effectively pulling the US out of the JCPoA.

 

 

References:

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzsrpufK7yo 28.15min

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-iran-deal-nuclear-cia-john-mclaughlin-jcpoa-a8000731.html  and https://www.ft.com/content/c01ba300-b1c2-11e7-aa26-bb002965bce8?mhq5j=e6

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/irans-nuclear-program

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33521655

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/sanctions/iran/jcpoa-restrictive-measures/

http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2231(2015)

https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/gov2011-65.pdf

http://en.mfa.ir/index.aspx?fkeyid=&siteid=3&pageid=22945&newsview=479558

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/statement-by-iaea-director-general-yukiya-amano-13-october-2017

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-statement-on-iran-nuclear-deal

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/united-states-america/34008/eu-28-committed-full-and-effective-implementation-iran-deal_en

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/iran-nuclear-deal-trump-eu-federica-mogherini-netanyahu-israel-a7999556.html

http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1465855.shtml

http://www.mid.ru/en/web/guest/maps/ir/-/asset_publisher/HUPBmpXjn4Ob/content/id/2912338

https://www.vox.com/world/2017/10/13/16464084/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-decertify

http://uk.businessinsider.com/trump-decertify-iran-deal-threatens-to-end-it-2017-10?r=US&IR=T

https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/S.615_Iran_Nuclear_Agreement_Review_Act_of_2015.pdf