Iran and the P5+1 reached an interim agreement in Geneva on 24 November, the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which outlines the goal of the negotiations and the elements of the final step of a comprehensive solution beyond the initial measures. This blog has on regular basis covered the Iranian nuclear program and the on-going negotiations. But based on comments we received on our earlier post today, there seems to be confusion on the issues that need to be addressed in the negotiations to reach the final agreement. Hence, below are the relevant sections of JPOA that should help clarify the issues.
- The goal of these negotiations is to reach a mutually-agreed long-term comprehensive solution.
- This comprehensive solution would involve a mutually defined enrichment program with practical limits and transparency measures to ensure the peaceful nature of the program.
- There would be additional steps in between the initial measures and the final steps, 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 JPOA also defines specific issues to be resolved:
- 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).
Based on the agreement between Iran and the P5+1, the scope and level of enrichment activities, the Arak reactor, the Additional Protocol, and satisfaction of UN Security Council resolutions are among the topics of negotiations.
The four UNSC resolutions include specific prohibition on “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology, and that states shall take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of technology or technical assistance to Iran related to such activities.” (Paragraph 9 of UN Security Council Resolution 1929.)
Please note these resolutions have been approved by P5, and Iran and P5+1 have agreed to bring them to a satisfactory conclusion. That includes discussions of “ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”
No one said the negotiations are to be easy. In fact, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has expressed his opinion that the talks “will go nowhere.” Khamenei’s analysis could be correct, but the two sides have no choice but to do their utmost to strike a final deal. The interim agreement's deadline of 24 July might also need to be extended for another six months to address all these difficult issues.