Iran has met its initial obligations under the nuclear agreement that it struck with the United States and its international negotiating partners (P5+1). In a new report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) certified that Iran has implemented the necessary reductions to its nuclear program and has granted the IAEA the access necessary to verify the agreement. In exchange, the United States and other world powers agree to waive nuclear-related sanctions. The completion of these steps marks what officials call “Implementation Day.”
Under the JCPOA, Iran must:
- Possess no more than 300 kg of uranium enriched up to 3.67%
- Operate no more than roughly 6,000 centrifuges
- Cease uranium enrichment at the underground Fordow facility
- Ship out all spent fuel from reactors
- Allow the IAEA continuous monitoring and inspections of its key nuclear facilities
- Abide by limits on centrifuges R&D
- Much More
What Iran Has Done
Iran has taken major steps to scale back its nuclear program. Iran greatly reduced its stockpile of enriched uranium, forfeited a majority of its uranium enrichment capacity, and granted access to the IAEA to put in place unprecedented verification and monitoring provisions at key nuclear facilities.
As a result, Iran is further from a nuclear bomb today than at any time over the last decade.
The IAEA has certified that Iran:
- Eliminated 97% of its uranium stockpile.
- Removed and destroyed the core from its Arak reactor, blocking the production of weapons-grade plutonium.
- Ripped out over 13,000 centrifuges (two-thirds of total). Those removed in the process must be placed under continuous IAEA monitoring.
- Halted all uranium enrichment activities at the underground Fordow site.
- Allowed the IAEA to implement the safeguards necessary to monitor Iran’s nuclear program and implemented transparency measures, such as the Additional Protocol, to permit greater access to inspectors.
- Gave the IAEA the information it needed to assess the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear past.
The P5+1’s Role
In return, the U.S., E.U., and UN lifted some sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program. As a result of the sanctions relief, Iran is expected to have access to around $50 billion of its frozen assets and the opportunity to conduct business with much of the world. The sanctions infrastructure will still remain in place in case Iran violates the agreement and the reimposition of sanctions is required.
In addition, the United States will still maintain key sanctions, including a prohibition of Iran from the U.S. commercial markets and banking system. The United States will also maintain sanctions targeting Iran’s support for terrorism, its human rights abuses, and its missile program.
The Bottom Line
Under the nuclear agreement, Iran’s nuclear program has been dramatically constrained. In return, it will receive relief from nuclear-related sanctions. With the agreement officially implemented, the IAEA has greater access than ever before to ensure Iran is in compliance with its commitments to stay nuclear weapons-free.