Iranian nuclear action plan comes into effect

19 October 2015

Yesterday marked Adoption Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. All participants in the agreement will now prepare for the implementation of their respective commitments.

The JCPOA was signed in July by Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the USA - also referred to as the P5+1 - plus the European Union). Under its terms, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment activities, eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium and limit its stockpile of low enriched uranium over the next 15 years. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is tasked with overseeing Iran's actions under the agreement.

"Adoption Day marks an important milestone in ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature."

Ernest Moniz,
US energy secretary

Alongside the JCPOA, Iran and the IAEA agreed a "road-map" setting out a timeline of activities in order for the agency to make an assessment, by the end of 2015, of issues relating to possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program.

In return, economic sanctions against Iran will be lifted once the IAEA confirms that Iran has complied with its obligations under this agreement.

On 13 October, the Iranian parliament approved a bill on the implementation of the JCPOA.

US energy secretary Ernest Moniz said, "Adoption Day marks an important milestone in ensuring that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful in nature ... Iran will begin taking substantial and verifiable steps to roll back its nuclear program and place it under a stringent verification and monitoring regime."

Meanwhile, the other participants in the action plan will also make necessary arrangements and preparations for the implement of their JCPOA commitments.

US president Barack Obama yesterday issued a presidential memorandum directing the heads of all relevant government departments and agencies to begin preparations to implement the US commitments. This includes providing relief from nuclear-related sanctions once the IAEA has verified that Iran has completed all of its nuclear steps.

Obama said: "I welcome this important step forward, and we, together with our partners, must now focus on the critical work of fully implementing this comprehensive resolution that addresses our concerns over Iran's nuclear program."

China, the USA and Iran also released a joint statement of intent yesterday on the future steps of modernization of the Arak reactor as specified under the JCPOA. This includes the removal of its existing calandria and rendering it inoperable.

The three partners are to set up a working group for facilitating the modernization project. The countries will be represented by the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA); the US Department of Energy (DOE); and, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. The working group will meet in the coming weeks.

Under the JCPOA agreement, Iran is to take the leadership role as the owner of and project manager for the Arak modernization project, with support from the CAEA and DOE. Other countries with relevant nuclear experience could be invited to join the working group.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News