The highly publicized interim deal with Iran, begun in November, to find a workable solution to its expanding nuclear program, has reached its next step. Iran and countries forming the P5+1 partnership have come to an agreement on a working framework for the future of nuclear technologies in the middle-eastern country. This framework would require Iran to cut its uranium enrichment plans, but would also give them a partial relief from sanctions.
The P5+1 is made up of Russia, China, France, the US and the UK, with the plus 1 representing Germany. The main goal of this coalition was to make sure that Iran would not be able to assemble a nuclear weapon. Iran on the other hand, insists that its nuclear research and assembly program is entirely peaceful and was looking to lift some of the sanctions that it says is crippling its economy.
Abbas Araqchi, the Deputy Foreign Minister for Iran, said that there was a “positive atmosphere” during the meeting between the nations which was held in Vienna. The foreign policy chief for the European Union added that representation from both sides did a good job identifying the issues that needed to be solved, but did add that there is still a lot of work that needs to be completed before this story is over.
Araqchi said that after meeting for two days in the Austrian capital, there is a framework in place and a “plan of action for comprehensive nuclear talks.” Although he did add they “cannot be optimistic about the progress of the upcoming talks,” he believes that all the issues have been identified and all of the pieces are in place to reach a final conclusion.
The agreed upon framework requires Iran to stop the production of “near-20 percent enriched uranium.” This type of uranium can be additionally enriched, quite quickly, to bring it to “weapons-grade.” Iran’s stockpile must also be diluted by about half and they must begin initiating developments to decommission and suspend fueling their “Arak heavy water reactor.” They will also be inspected daily by the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA.
In exchange for these measure the P5+1 has agreed to ease back on the sanction imposed on Iran’s chemical trading. Sanctions will be decreased on the trade of petrochemicals, precious metals and on provisional insurance on shipments of oil. Iran will also receive access to $4.2 billion in frozen oil revenue that will be made available to them in monthly installments.
These agreements would affect Fordo’s underground enrichment plant and would force Tehran to allow access to the Parchin military complex. This complex is where the IAEA had previously reported witnessing a number of developments that are necessary for the manufacturing of a nuclear device.
There will be further talks, scheduled to take place in Vienna on the 17th of March, to bring these agreements to a conclusion. At this time though, there is this monumental framework that appears to have appeased both parties and the prevailing “positive atmosphere” between Iran’s representatives and the representatives of the P5+1.
By Nick Manai