The nuclear deal with Iran: Highlights

The enriched uranium stockpile
Iran’s stockpile of LEU would be reduced from the current level of about 7,500kg to 300kg, a reduction of 96 percent. The reduction would be achieved either by shipping the uranium abroad – in all likelihood, to Russia — or by diluting it.

Research, development, and future enrichment capacity
The agreement imposes limits on the R&D work Iran could do on advanced centrifuges, so it could not, at end of the first ten years of the agreement, suddenly bolster its enrichment capacity and shorten its breakout time from one year to a few weeks almost overnight. Iran would be able, on a small scale, to test experimental new centrifuges according to a gradual, monitored plan.

The heavy water reactor at Arak
Iran would remove the reactor core and fill it with concrete. The reactor would be redesigned so that it would produce much less plutonium, if at all, and all its spent fuel would be shipped out of the country – in all likelihood, to Russia. Iran would not build a reprocessing plant – and would not even be allowed to do research on reprocessing — indefinitely, and would not build any new heavy water plants for fifteen years.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would have full access to all Iran’s declared nuclear sites as at present, but with much more advanced inspection and detection technology than they are using now. Inspectors would be able to visit non-declared sites where they suspect nuclear work might be performed. A commission made up of a range of IAEA members would be set up to judge whether the inspectors’ access requests are justified, and would take its decision by majority vote.

Investigation into past activity
Iran has agreed to provide a “road map” to IAEA officials, allowing access to facilities and scientists suspected of involvement in past experimental work on warhead design, mostly done before 2004, which was managed by a centralized and covert unit. The IAEA would have to certify Iranian cooperation with the inquiry into past activities before Iran benefits from sanctions relief.

Sanctions relief
As Iran implements the agreed steps listed above to reduce work on those aspects of its nuclear infrastructure which carry nuclear weapons proliferation risk, the United States and EU would provide guarantees that financial and economic sanctions will be suspended or cancelled. The EU would stop its oil embargo and end its banking sanctions, and Iran would be allowed to participate in the Swift electronic banking system which is the central to international finance. President Barack Obama would issue presidential waivers suspending the operation of U.S. trade and financial sanctions.

A new UN Security Council resolution and the arms embargo
The JCPOA will be incorporated into a new Security Council resolution which would replace and supersede six earlier sanctions resolutions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. The resolution will be passed before the end of the month but the agreement will not take effect for ninety days, allowing for the domestic political review to be completed. An arms embargo on Iran would remain in place for five years, and a ban on the transfer of missile technology would stay for eight years.

— Read more in Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Vienna, 14 July 2015