The West wants Iran to scale back permanently its sensitive nuclear activities to ensure that it cannot assemble a nuclear weapon. But Iran says its nuclear work will continue and wants an end to the sanctions that have battered its economy…
- 20 January – First day of implementation of interim nuclear deal. IAEA begins verifying Iranian compliance; P5+1 and EU suspend sanctions
- 18 February – Iran and P5+1 begin talks in Vienna to find a “comprehensive solution”
- 19 April – Completion of dilution of Iran’s 20% enriched uranium stockpile in hexafluoride form
- 19 July – Expiry of six-month interim period for finding comprehensive solution. If not renewed by mutual consent, P5+1 may increase sanctions
- November – Iran and P5+1 aim to “conclude negotiating and commence implementing” the second step of any comprehensive solution.
The interim deal, which was struck in November but only took effect on 20 January, gives Iran and the P5+1 six months to negotiate a “comprehensive solution”, although it can be extended. It obliges Iran to: halt production of near-20% enriched uranium, which could be further enriched to weapons-grade relatively quickly; dilute half of its stockpile; commit not to commission or fuel the Arak heavy-water reactor, from where spent fuel plutonium could be extracted; and submit to daily inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In return, the P5+1 has eased sanctions on trade in petrochemicals, precious metals and on the provision of insurance for oil shipments. It has also committed to giveIran access to $4.2bn of oil revenue frozen in foreign banks at monthly intervals. The issues for the permanent deal are said to include the level of Iran’s ongoing enrichment of uranium; the underground enrichment facility at Fordo; the Arak reactor; and Tehran’s willingness to let inspectors visit the Parchin military complex, where the IAEA suspects activities “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” were carried out. Iran has a number of “red lines”, including not dismantling any facilities.