Iran and the P5+1 group of countries have reached a framework agreement after marathon sessions over the last eight days. Drafting of the agreement with all its technical details will begin soon to complete the process by June 30. Once completed, all sanctions against Iran whether by the UN, US or EU will be lifted in return for Iran limiting its nuclear activities for 10 years.
Thursday April 2, 2015, 16:19 DST
In a joint press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the European Union (EU) high representative, Federica Mogherini, issued a statement today confirming a framework agreement had been reached.
In return for Iran reducing the number of centrifuges in operation from the current level of 19,000 to 6,104, the US and EU have agreed to lift all sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
These include the lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for enrichment program will cover a 10-year period. More than 5,000 centrifuge machines will continue producing enriched material at Natanz facility up to the 3.67-percent level.
The other 1100 machines will operate at Fordow.
In the framework agreement, Iran’s nuclear facilities as well as previous activities will continue, including all its nuclear facilities at Natanz, Fordow, Isfahan and Arak.
Under the terms of the agreement whose technical aspects have to be drafted later, Iran will continue to enrich uranium inside its own territory—a key Iranian demand as its right—and Tehran will be allowed to go on with industrial production of nuclear fuel to run its nuclear power plants.
Iran has agreed to voluntarily implement the Additional Protocol temporarily in line with its confidence-building measures. The protocol’s timeframe will be ratified by the Iranian government as well as parliament.
Removal of Sanctions
A key Iranian demand was the removal of all sanctions. Once the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is implemented, all UN Security Council sanctions as well as all economic and financial embargos by the US and the European Union, including bans on banks, insurance, investment, and all other related services in different fields, including petrochemical, oil, gas and automobile industries will be lifted.
Similarly, all nuclear-related sanctions against real and legal entities, state and private organizations and institutions, including those sanctions imposed against the Central Bank of Iran, other financial and banking institutions, SWIFT system, and the country’s shipping and aviation sectors and Iran's tanker company will be immediately lifted all at once.
The P5+1 group of countries have also agreed not to impose any new nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.
The two sides will start drafting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) in the near future to meet the July 1 deadline.
Once the text is finalized, the Joint Plan will be adopted as a UN Security Council resolution.
“The EU will terminate the implementation of all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions and the US will cease the application of all nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions, simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation by Iran of its key nuclear commitments,” the joint statement said.
UN Security Council resolutions on Iran will be also terminated under the future comprehensive deal, Dr Zarif added.
“It will be an end to all UN resolutions against Iran,” the Iranian Foreign Minister said clarifying the exact numbers of the documents – from 1696 to 1929.
In order to make it binding on all UN member states, the resolution will be adopted under Article 41 of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter. It would render all previous resolutions against Iran null and void.
Arriving at the framework agreement was not easy. Over the last eight days, there were marathon sessions, some going into the whole night to work out the details.
The self-imposed deadline of March 31 had to be extended by two days to finally arrive at the agreement.
It would, however, be premature to state that everything has been resolved. Until the technical details are finalized, things can still go wrong even though US President Barack Obama described it as “good deal.”
It will also be interesting to see how quickly the sanctions can be removed once the Comprehensive Agreement has been signed.
At present, however, it was all smiles in Lausanne today.