TEHRAN – Iran and the six major powers reached a historic deal in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to which Tehran will offer some concessions in exchange for limited relief from the sanctions imposed on the country.
The deal on Iran’s nuclear program was clinched after four days of marathon talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) in Geneva.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Chinese, Russian, French, British, and German foreign ministers joined the talks on Saturday to participate in the push to seal an interim nuclear deal with Iran.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton led the negotiating team of the 5+1 group, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led the Iranian negotiating team.
Deal creates opportunity for a comprehensive solution: joint statement
Ashton and Zarif issued a joint statement on the agreement, in which they said, “After intensive negotiations we reached agreement today on a joint plan of action which sets out an approach toward reaching a long-term comprehensive solution.
We agreed that the process leading to this comprehensive solution will include the first steps of initial reciprocal measures to be taken by both sides for a duration of six months.
We also share a strong commitment to negotiate a final comprehensive solution.
The adoption of a joint plan of action was possible thanks to a sense of mutual respect and the determination to find a way forward which is beneficial to all of us.
The implementation of this first step creates the time and the environment needed for a comprehensive solution which remains the shared goal and on which talks will begin soon.
The work on the implementation of this first step will begin shortly.
We look forward to swift implementation which we will jointly monitor in close coordination with the IAEA.
Finally, today’s agreement is a significant step towards developing our relationship in a more constructive way.”
Iran to be provided with limited sanctions relief
According to a fact sheet released by the White House, in return for the steps that Iran would take under the agreement, “the P5+1 is to provide limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible relief while maintaining the vast bulk of our sanctions, including the oil, finance, and banking sanctions architecture.”
The White House also wrote, “If Iran fails to meet its commitments, we will revoke the relief. Specifically the P5+1 has committed to:
- Not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months, if Iran abides by its commitments under this deal, to the extent permissible within their political systems.
- Suspend certain sanctions on gold and precious metals, Iran’s auto sector, and Iran’s petrochemical exports, potentially providing Iran approximately $1.5 billion in revenue.
- License safety-related repairs and inspections inside Iran for certain Iranian airlines.
- Allow purchases of Iranian oil to remain at their currently significantly reduced levels – levels that are 60% less than two years ago. $4.2 billion from these sales will be allowed to be transferred in installments if, and as, Iran fulfills its commitments.
- Allow $400 million in governmental tuition assistance to be transferred from restricted Iranian funds directly to recognized educational institutions in third countries to defray the tuition costs of Iranian students.
Agreement provides an opportunity for confidence-building: Zarif
According to Reuters, Zarif told a news conference, “This is only a first step.” “We need to start moving in the direction of restoring confidence, a direction in which we have managed to move against in the past.”
Speaking on Press TV, he also said that the deal had recognized Iran’s nuclear program and in a final “step” all sanctions on the Islamic Republic would be lifted, Reuters reported.
Zarif said the deal was an opportunity for the West to restore trust with the Iranian nation, adding Tehran would expand cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, to address what he called some concerns.
“In the final step, the (uranium) enrichment process will be accepted and at the same time all the sanctions will be lifted,” Zarif said, adding Iranians sought to have the nuclear program carried out “free of international pressure”.
Deal is an important first step: U.S.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement, calling the deal “an important first step toward a comprehensive solution.”
He also said, “As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy,” noting, “Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure -- a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful.”
Agreement is a balanced list of measures: Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed the deal, saying, “The agreement is a balanced list of measures and it will certainly have a positive influence on the development of the international situation, especially in the Middle Eastern region,” RIA Novosti reported.
Deal will safeguard peace in Mideast: China
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a statement, “This agreement will help to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation system, (and) safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East,” AFP reported.
Agreement good for the whole world: Britain
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also said that the deal is “good for the whole world, including Middle Eastern countries and the people of Iran themselves,” according to AFP.
Deal confirms Iran’s right to civilian nuclear energy: France
AFP also quoted French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius as saying that the accord “confirms Iran’s right to civilian nuclear energy but rules out access to the nuclear weapon.”
Agreement was a turning point: Germany
In addition, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle described the agreement with Iran as a “turning point,” noting that it was the first time a political agreement had been reached on the first substantial steps, despite difficulties and confrontation in the past ten years of the nuclear negotiations.
UN welcomes Iran-P5+1 agreement
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also warmly welcomed the interim deal and urged the governments concerned to “do everything possible to build on this encouraging start, creating mutual confidence and allowing continued negotiations to extend the scope of this initial agreement,” his office said in a press release.
Text of the agreement
Following is the English text of the agreement released by the Iranian Foreign Ministry:
The goal for these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons. This comprehensive solution would build on these initial measures and result in a final step for a period to be agreed upon and the resolution of concerns. This comprehensive solution would enable Iran to fully enjoy its right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the relevant articles of the NPT in conformity with its obligations therein. This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program. This comprehensive solution would constitute an integrated whole where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. This comprehensive solution would involve a reciprocal, step-by step process, and would produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions, as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program.
There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final step, including, among other things, addressing the UN Security Council resolutions, with a view toward bringing to a satisfactory conclusion the UN Security Council’s consideration of this matter. The E3+3 and Iran will be responsible for conclusion and implementation of mutual near-term measures and the comprehensive solution in good faith. A Joint Commission of E3/EU+3 and Iran will be established to monitor the implementation of the near-term measures and address issues that may arise, with the IAEA responsible for verification of nuclear-related measures. The Joint Commission will work with the IAEA to facilitate resolution of past and present issues of concern.
Elements of a first step
The first step would be time-bound, with a duration of 6 months, and renewable by mutual consent, during which all parties will work to maintain a constructive atmosphere for negotiations in good faith.
Iran would undertake the following voluntary measures:
* From the existing uranium enriched to 20%, retain half as working stock of 20% oxide for fabrication of fuel for the TRR. Dilute the remaining 20% UF6 to no more than 5%. No reconversion line.
* Iran announces that it will not enrich uranium over 5% for the duration of the 6 months.
* Iran announces that it will not make any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, Fordow, or the Arak reactor, designated by the IAEA as IR-40.
* Beginning when the line for conversion of UF6 enriched up to 5% to UO2 is ready, Iran has decided to convert to oxide UF6 newly enriched up to 5% during the 6 month period, as provided in the operational schedule of the conversion plant declared to the IAEA.
* No new locations for the enrichment.
* Iran will continue its safeguarded R&D practices, including its current enrichment R&D practices, which are not designed for accumulation of the enriched uranium.
* No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
* Enhanced monitoring:
- Provision of specified information to the IAEA, including information on Iran’s plans for nuclear facilities, a description of each building on each nuclear site, a description of the scale of operations for each location engaged in specified nuclear activities, information on uranium mines and mills, and information on source material. This information would be provided within three months of the adoption of these measures.
- Submission of an updated DIQ for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as
the IR-40, to the IAEA.
- Steps to agree with the IAEA on conclusion of the Safeguards Approach for the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40.
- Daily IAEA inspector access when inspectors are not present for the purpose of Design Information Verification, Interim Inventory Verification, Physical Inventory Verification, and unannounced inspections, for the purpose of access to
offline surveillance records, at Fordow and Natanz.
- IAEA inspector managed access to:
. centrifuge assembly workshops;
. centrifuge rotor production workshops and storage facilities; and,
. uranium mines and mills.
In return, the E3/EU+3 would undertake the following voluntary measures:
- Pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. Enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad. For such oil sales, suspend the EU and U.S. sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services.
- Suspend U.S. and EU sanctions on:
. Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services.
. Gold and precious metals, as well as sanctions on associated services.
· Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran’s auto industry, as well as sanctions on associated services.
· License the supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services. License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services.
· No new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions.
· No new EU nuclear-related sanctions.
· The U.S. Administration, acting consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Congress, will refrain from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.
· Establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad. Humanitarian trade would be defined as transactions involving food and agricultural products, medicine, medical devices, and medical expenses incurred abroad. This channel would involve specified foreign banks and non-designated Iranian banks to be defined when establishing the channel.
* This channel could also enable:
a- transactions required to pay Iran’s UN obligations; and,
b- direct tuition payments to universities and colleges for Iranian students studying abroad, up to an agreed amount for the six month period.
· Increase the EU authorization thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount.
Elements of the final step of a comprehensive solution
The final step of a comprehensive solution, which the parties aim to conclude negotiating and commence implementing no more than one year after the adoption of this document, would:
· Have a specified long-term duration to be agreed upon.
· Reflect the rights and obligations of parties to the NPT and IAEA Safeguards Agreements.
· Comprehensively lift UN Security Council, multilateral and national nuclear-related sanctions, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy, on a schedule to be agreed upon.
· Involve a mutually defined enrichment program with mutually agreed parameters consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on scope and level of enrichment activities, capacity, where it is carried out, and stocks of enriched uranium, for a period to be agreed upon.
· Fully resolve concerns related to the reactor at Arak, designated by the IAEA as the IR-40. No reprocessing or construction of a facility capable of reprocessing.
· Fully implement the agreed transparency measures and enhanced monitoring. Ratify and implement the Additional Protocol, consistent with the respective roles of the President and the Majlis (Iranian parliament).
· Include international civil nuclear cooperation, including among others, on acquiring modern light water power and research reactors and associated equipment, and the supply of modern nuclear fuel as well as agreed R&D practices.
Following successful implementation of the final step of the comprehensive solution for its full duration, the Iranian nuclear program will be treated in the same manner as that of any non-nuclear weapon state party to the NPT.