The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China want Iran to reduce its nuclear fuel-making capacity to deny it any means of quickly producing atom bombs. In exchange, international sanctions that have crippled the large OPEC member's oil-dependent economy would gradually be lifted.
Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful energy purposes only and wants the sanctions removed swiftly. But a history of hiding sensitive nuclear work from U.N. inspectors raised international suspicions and the risk of a new Middle East war if diplomacy fails to yield a long-term settlement.
IRAN and P5+1The P5+1 is a group of six world powers which in 2006 joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran with regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to the P5 or five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany. P5+1 is often referred to as the E3+3 (or E3/EU+3) by European countries.
Joint Plan of Action
On November 24, 2014, Iran Foreign Minister Zarif and Catherine Ashton, head of the P5+1 negotiating team, signed the proposal, known as the Joint Plan of Action.
Elements of the First Phase
- Convert half of its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent to oxide form and downblend the remainder to an enrichment level of no more than five percent;
- suspend production of uranium enriched to above five percent;
- no further advances in nuclear activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant, the enrichment plant at Fordow and the Arak heavy water reactor;
- convert uranium enriched up to five percent produced during the six months to oxide form when the construction of the conversion facility is completed;
- no new enrichment facilities;
- research and development practices, including on enrichment, will continue under IAEA safeguards;
- no reprocessing of spent plutonium fuel or construction of any facility capable of reprocessing; and
- enhanced monitoring including, providing information to the IAEA on plans for nuclear sites and the Arak reactor, negotiating a safeguards approach for the Arak reactor, allow daily IAEA access to Natanz and Fordow, and allow managed access to centrifuge workshops and uranium mines and mills.
- No new nuclear-related sanctions from the UN Security Council, the EU, and the U.S.;
- pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s oil sales and partial repatriation of frozen Iranian assets from oil sales;
- suspension of U.S. and EU sanctions on petrochemical exports and gold and precious metals;
- suspension of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s auto industry;
- supply and installation of spare parts for Iranian civil airplanes, including repairs and safety inspections;
- establish a financial channel for humanitarian goods using Iran’s oil revenues that are frozen abroad, which can also be used for tuition payments for Iranian student abroad and payment of Iran’s UN dues; and
- increase of the EU thresholds for non-sanctioned trade with Iran.