What is the Iran nu­clear deal?

The Iran nu­clear deal was a his­toric diplo­matic achieve­ment to pre­ven­tTehran’s path­way to a bomb. Here’s our brief break­down of what you need to know about the deal

The Daily News Egypt - - Politics -

DW—The Iran nu­clear deal, known as the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA), was reached in July 2015 be­tween Iran and in­ter­na­tional pow­ers af­ter nearly 20 months of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Un­der the JCPOA, Iran and the United States, Ger­many, Bri­tain, China, Rus­sia and France (known as the P5+1), as well as the Euro­pean Union, agreed to lift crip­pling in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions re­lated to Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram in ex­change for Tehran dis­man­tling its nu­clear pro­gram.

The JCPOA went into ef­fect in Oc­to­ber 2015, fol­lowed in Jan­uary 2016 by im­ple­men­ta­tion day af­ter the In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy Agency (IAEA) ver­i­fied Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram to be peace­ful.

That led to the lift­ing of UN and na­tional nu­clear-re­lated sanc­tions on Iran, in­clud­ing those on fi­nance, trade and en­ergy.As part of the deal, tens of bil­lions of dol­lars in Iran’s frozen as­sets were re­leased.

Sanc­tions can be “snapped back” if Iran vi­o­lates the deal. The IAEA, which mon­i­tors the deal, has re­peat­edly con­firmed Iran is com­ply­ing with all as­pects of the JCPOA.

The JCPOA al­lows Iran to pur­sue a peace­ful nu­clear pro­gram for com­mer­cial, med­i­cal and in­dus­trial pur­poses in line with in­ter­na­tional non-pro­lif­er­a­tion stan­dards.

Im­por­tantly, the JCPOA is strictly about Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram. It does not ad­dress other is­sues such as its bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram, hu­man rights abuses, sup­port for ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions and al­leged “desta­bi­liza­tion” ac­tiv­i­ties in the Mid­dle East.

The EU and the United States have sep­a­rate sanc­tions and trade re­stric­tions re­lated to these is­sues. A sep­a­rate UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion ad­dresses Iran’s bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­gram.

At the time of the deal, US in­tel­li­gence es­ti­mated it would take Iran as lit­tle three months to pro­duce enough fis­sile ma­te­rial for one nu­clear weapon.

Through the JCPOA, the po­ten­tial path­ways for Iran to de­velop a nu­clear weapon were blocked.

The ura­nium path­ways

One path­way was through a ura­nium bomb. Iran has two ura­nium en­rich­ment fa­cil­i­ties suit­able for this: at Natanz and For­dow.

Un­der the JCPOA, no en­rich­ment is al­lowed at For­dow for 15 years.

For 10 years, the Natanz fa­cil­ity is al­lowed about 5,000 cen­trifuges com­pared to about 20,000 before the nu­clear deal. The cen­trifuges that are al­lowed are the old­est and least ef­fi­cient.

Iran also re­duced its stock­pile of ura­nium by 98 per­cent to 300 kilo­grams for 15 years. Before the deal, Iran had enough ura­nium to build ten nu­clear bombs – 300 kilo­grams is not enough to build one bomb.

Iran also com­mit­ted to keep ura­nium en­rich­ment at 3.67 per­cent, far be­low the 90 per­cent en­rich­ment level needed to make a nu­clear weapon. The low-en­riched ura­nium was shipped to Rus­sia.

The plu­to­nium path­way

The third path­way to a nu­clear bomb was through weapon­s­grade plu­to­nium at the Arak heavy wa­ter nu­clear re­ac­tor.

Un­der the JCPOA, the heavy wa­ter re­ac­tor at Arak was re­designed so that it can­not pro­duce weapons-grade plu­to­nium.Also, spent fuel rods that could be used to de­velop a nu­clear bomb are sent out of the coun­try.

For 15 years, Iran will not be al­lowed to build a heavy wa­ter re­ac­tor or ac­cu­mu­late ex­cess heavy wa­ter.

Covert path­way

The JCPOA in­cludes a ro­bust mon­i­tor­ing, ver­i­fi­ca­tion and in­spec­tion regime car­ried out by the IAEA.The in­spec­tions regime al­lows the IAEA to mon­i­tor de­clared nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties, stor­age fa­cil­i­ties and sup­ply chains.

This al­lows in­ter­na­tional in­spec­tors to iden­tify if Iran is covertly de­vel­op­ing nu­clear weapons at un­de­clared sites or military fa­cil­i­ties.

If the IAEA sus­pects covert ac­tiv­ity, an ad­di­tional pro­to­col to the JCPOA al­lows in­spec­tors ac­cess to any site, in­clud­ing military fa­cil­i­ties.

This re­quires that Iran al­low ac­cess to any site within 24 days if a ma­jor­ity of sig­na­to­ries to the ac­cord agree.

The deal was reached in 2015 af­ter 20 months of ne­go­ti­a­tions

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