IRAN (OBSERVATORY via BBC) – The international community has begun implementing the terms of the historic nuclear deal between Iran and the six major powers including the United States, Britain, France and China, as well as Germany.
Iran’s stifling economic sanctions were lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) acknowledged Tehran had cut its sensitive nuclear activities.
The White House says the deal would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb. Iran, for its part, affirms its right to nuclear energy and insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.
Two uranium enrichment facilities in Iran are Natanz and Purdue, where centrifuge stations are fed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas to separate the most fragmented U235. Low enriched uranium, with a concentration of U235 ranging from 3 to 4 percent, can be used to produce fuel for nuclear power plants, but it can also be enriched to the 90 percent required to produce nuclear bombs.
In July 2015 Iran had about 20,000 centrifuges, but according to the “Comprehensive Joint Action Plan” agreement, Iran would commit to installing no more than 5060 older and less efficient centrifuges at Natanz for 10 years.
It will also reduce Iran’s uranium stockpile by 98 percent to 300 kilograms for 15 years, and it must also comply with the 3.67 percent enrichment level.
By the beginning of January, Iran had significantly reduced the number of centrifuges in Natanz and Vordo, and shipped tons of low-enriched uranium to Russia.
In addition, research and development activities will take place only at Natanz for only eight years. Iran will not be allowed to enrich in Fordo for 15 years and the underground facility will be turned into a center for nuclear, physical and technological research. The 1044 centrifuges will produce radioactive isotopes for research in medicine, agriculture, industry and science.
Iran was building a heavy water facility near the city of Arak. The spent fuel from the heavy water reactor contains plutonium that can be used to make a nuclear bomb.
The major powers initially wanted to dismantle the Arak facility because of proliferation risks. According to an interim nuclear agreement reached in November 2013, Iran agreed not to operate or fuel the reactor.
Iran has agreed to redesign the reactor so that it can not produce plutonium at weapons-grade levels, and all depleted fuel will be sent out of the country as long as the reactor is in place.
Most of Arak’s expected production of 20,000 tons of heavy water will be transferred to another country across the United States, according to Iranian officials. Iran will keep about six tons to manufacture medical isotopes.
The “Comprehensive Joint Action Plan” agreement provides that Iran will not be allowed to build additional reactors with heavy water or to store any additional heavy water for 15 years.
The White House trusts that the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan agreement will prevent Iran from building a nuclear program in secret.
Iran has pledged to “observe, investigate and inspect thoroughly and exceptionally”.
Observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global nuclear watchdog, will continue to monitor Iran’s declared nuclear sites and also verify that no fissile material is secretly transferred to unknown nuclear bomb sites.
Iran has also agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement signed with the IAEA, which will allow inspectors access to any site that raises suspicions anywhere in the country.
In the next 15 years, Iran will have 24 days to respond to any request by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to access any site. If Tehran rejects this request, a joint committee of eight members, including Iran, will discuss the situation.
The Commission could decide to take punitive steps, including the re-imposition of sanctions, and the majority of votes within the Committee would be sufficient to take punitive action.
Time of progress
Before July, Iran had a large stockpile of enriched uranium and about 20,000 centrifuges, enough to produce between eight and 10 nuclear bombs, according to the White House.
US experts at the time estimated that if Iran decided to produce a nuclear weapon it would have only two or three months to get enough of the 90 percent enriched uranium needed to produce the so-called “time of progress,” which Iran needs to have enough enriched uranium to produce Nuclear weapon.
The White House said the Comprehensive Joint Action Plan agreement would deprive Iran of the key elements it needed to get the bomb and increase the time needed to get sufficient uranium to a year or more.
Iran also agreed not to undertake any activities, including research and development, that would contribute to the development of a nuclear bomb.
In December 2015, the IAEA Board of Directors voted to end its 10-year investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said the report concluded that until 2003, Iran had “coordinated efforts” on a range of activities related to the development of a nuclear explosive device.
Some Iranian activities continued until 2009, but then there were “no credible signs” of developing nuclear weapons.
The United States, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions that have damaged Iran’s economy. The country has suffered losses of $ 160 billion in oil revenues since 2012 as part of attempts to force it to suspend uranium enrichment.
With these sanctions lifted, Tehran could access more than $ 100 billion of assets frozen abroad and would be able to resume the sale of oil on international markets and use the global financial system for trade.
This will only be achieved after the report of the IAEA confirming Iran’s full commitment to the agreement of the comprehensive joint action plan. If any provision of the agreement is violated, the United Nations sanctions will be automatic and will remain for 10 years, with a possible extension of another five years.
If the Joint Commission can not resolve the dispute, it shall refer it to the Security Council.
Iran has also agreed to a five-year-old UN arms embargo, although it could be lifted early if the IAEA is convinced its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
But the ban on the import of ballistic missile technology will continue for eight years to come.