The Joint Plan of Action – 24 November 2013

The Joint Plan of Action – 24 November 2013

by

Howard Adelman

While the Framework of Cooperation Agreement (FCA) between Iran and the IAEA focused on transparency, access, inspection and verification, the Joint Plan of Action (JPA) on Iran’s Nuclear Program concentrated on the substantive issues of how much uranium, to what degree of enrichment, how many centrifuges Iran would be permitted, what type, and the future of the Arak heavy water plant. The principles of the agreement were clear. Iran’s nuclear program would not be dismantled altogether. Instead, Iran would be assured that it could develop its nuclear program provided it was restricted to peaceful uses only. Inspections had to verify that to be the case. Rather than the suggestion that after some years – say fifteen – Iran would be able to develop a nuclear weapons program, the agreement was very explicit: “under no circumstances will Iran ever seek or develop any nuclear weapons.” The language was unequivocal.

The key element to be worked out was a mutually-defined enrichment program. Further, it was to be implemented in a step-by-step fashion so that, as Iran complied and was proven to be in compliance, both UN and multilateral sanctions would be lifted in lockstep, and, again, each step taken with proper monitoring. In the first step with an initial duration of 6 months, subject to extension by mutual consent, Iran agreed to cut in half its uranium stockpile enriched to almost 20%; the reduction was to be less than 5% with no possibility of reconversion. During that period, Iran agreed not to enrich any uranium above 5%. Iran further agreed not to make any improvements or upgrades in its Natanz and Fordow enrichment plants or its Arak reactor. Enriched uranium from its new cascade could be enriched only up to 5%, but then converted to oxide UF6. There was to be no construction of new enrichment facilities. At the same time, in addition to the provisions of the agreement with the IAEA, detailed specifications were inserted for that monitoring.

So much for any silly assertions that Iran gave up nothing and got the lifting of sanctions in return. But what concessions did Iran get from the P5+1 (P3+3 in the agreement)? The P5+1 did not roll back any sanctions against oil exports from Iran, but agreed to pause its efforts to further reduce Iran’s foreign sales and allowed Iran to repatriate funds from that level of sales. The sanctions on indemnity insurance and transportation would be lifted to allow for this level of trade. The P5+1 also agreed to suspend sanctions on petrochemical and precious metal exports, on the Iranian auto industry as well as associated services. The international community would allow Iran to import spare parts for the civil aeroplane industry.  Neither the UN, the EU nor the U.S. would impose new sanctions. For money held abroad, a channel would be created for repatriating such funds for humanitarian purposes – health, food, college and university fees for Iranian students studying abroad, and to pay UN fees. The levels imposed by the EU on non-sanctioned trade were to be increased.

The agreement then set forth how the ensuing detailed negotiations would proceed to establish norms for the size and scope of nuclear enrichment, deal with the Arak threat, otherwise implement full transparency and ratify the Additional Protocol to the Non-proliferation Treaty.

What were the results? As of February 2015, both the EU and Washington provided a report on implementation that showed clearly that both Iran and the P5+1 had completed compliance or were in the process of complying. The following is a summary.

Iranian Actions  Status 
By January 20, halt production of near-20% enriched uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) and commit to only enrich up to 5%. Completed

According to the January 20 IAEA report, Iran had halted enrichment to 20% UF6.

By January 20, disable the configuration of the centrifuge cascades Iran has been using to produce 20% enriched UF6. Completed

According to the January 20 IAEA report, Iran had ceased operating its interconnected centrifuges enriching to 20% UF6. The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran is now using the four cascades at Fordow to enrich uranium to 5%.

On January 20, continue conversion of half of its stockpile of near-20% uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) into uranium oxide powder as working stock for fabricating fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Completed

According to the July 20 IAEA report, Iran completed the process of converting half of its stockpile of 20% enriched UF6 gas (~104 kg) to uranium oxide powder.

On January 20, begin dilution of half of its stockpile of 20% UF6 to no more than 5% enriched UF6 and complete dilution by April 20. Completed

According to the April IAEA report, Iran completed the dilution of half of its stockpile of 20 percent-enriched uranium.

Continue only its safeguarded research and development practices, including its current enrichment research practices, which were not designated for accumulation of the enriched uranium. Completed

In the February 20 IAEA report, the agency verified that Iran was continuing its safeguarded research and development practices at Natanz and was not using the research to accumulate uranium as it tested advanced models.

By April 20, provide the IAEA with:
  • plans for nuclear facilities
Completed

Iran submitted details on site selection for 16 nuclear power plants to the IAEA, its initial plans for 10 future enrichment sites, and a light water reactor.

  • descriptions of buildings located on nuclear sites
Completed
  • the scale of operations for each location
Completed
  • information on uranium mines and mills
Completed

According to the May 23 IAEA report, Iran has visited the Gchine Mine, the Saghand Mine and the Ardakan Uranium production plant.

  • information on source material
Completed

Iran provided the IAEA with information about source material on April 20, according to the May 23 IAEA report.

Submit an updated Design Information Questionnaire (DIQ) for the reactor at Arak (IR-40). Completed

Iran submitted at updated DIQ on the reactor to the IAEA on February 12, according to the agency’s Feb. 20 report.

Take steps to conclude a safeguards approach with the IAEA for the Arak reactor. Completed

The IAEA and Iran met on May 5 to discuss the revised safeguards approach. According to the June 20 report, Iran has reached an agreement with the agency on the safeguards approach.

Allow daily IAEA inspector access at Fordow and Nantanz, including scheduled and unannounced inspections and access to surveillance information on a daily basis. Completed

As of the February 20 IAEA report, the IAEA was able to install surveillance measures at Natanz and Fordow to facilitate daily monitoring and came to an agreement regarding the facilitation of daily access.

(Prior to the Joint Plan of Action, the IAEA had accessed Fordow on a weekly basis, and Natanz on a biweekly basis.)

Allow the IAEA to conduct monthly inspections of the heavy water reactor at Arak and associated facilities. Completed

The IAEA was able to make its first monthly visit and access the heavy water reactor on Feb. 12, according to the agency’s Feb. 20 IAEA report.

(Prior inspections were conducted at the reactor once every three months, and other facilities at the site were not included.)

Provide information to allow the IAEA inspectors managed access to:  
  • centrifuge assembly workshops
Completed

The IAEA was able to visit the facility between February 3-7.

  • centrifuge rotor production
Completed

The IAEA was able to visit the facility between February 3-7.

  • workshops and storage facilities
Completed

The IAEA was able to visit the facility between February 3-7.

  • uranium mines and mills
Completed

The IAEA has been able to access Iran’s two uranium mines at Gchine and Saghand and the milling facility at Ardakan.

Provide figures that will allow the IAEA to verify that centrifuge production will be dedicated to the replacement of damaged machines. Completed

The IAEA has had access to Iran’s centrifuge workshops and facilities.

Cap the size of the 5% enriched UF6 stockpile. Completed

The November 24 IAEA report on implementation of the Joint Plan of Action noted that Iran’s stockpile of UF6 gas was 7,400 kg, below January’s level of 7,560 kg.

Iran Will Refrain From the Following Actions Status
Refrain from installing a reconversion line to reconvert uranium oxide powder to 20% UF6. Complying

The January 20 IAEA report said that Iran does not have a reconversion line in place.

Refrain from reprocessing or constructing a facility capable of reprocessing materials. Complying

In a January 18 letter to the IAEA, Iran said it will not engage in reprocessing or construct a reprocessing facility over the six months of the deal. The January 20 IAEA report confirmed that no reprocessing is taking place at the Tehran Research Reactor or MIX facility.

Refrain from making any further advances of its activities at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant.

(This includes not installing new centrifuges and not feeding UF6 into the roughly half the centrifuges at Natanz that are installed but not yet enriching uranium.)

Complying

The IAEA verified in the February 20 report that Iran has not made any further advances and no new centrifuges are enriching uranium.

Refrain from making any further advances of its activities at Fordow.

(This includes not installing new centrifuges, not feeding UF6 into the three quarters at Fordow that are installed but not yet enriching uranium, and not interconnecting the cascades.)

Complying

The IAEA verified that Iran has not made any further advances and no new centrifuges are enriching uranium.

Replacing existing centrifuges only with centrifuges of the same type. Complying

As of the February 20 IAEA report, the agency did not report any violation of this restriction, and surveillance has been set up to monitor any changes.

Refrain from commissioning the heavy water reactor at Arak. Complying

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not conducted any activities to further the Arak reactor.

Refrain from transferring fuel or heavy water to the Arak reactor. Complying

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not conducted any activities to further the Arak reactor.

Refrain from testing additional fuel or producing more fuel. Complying

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not manufactured or tested any reactor fuel, and the number of fuel rods produced remains at 11.

Refrain from installing any additional reactor components at the Arak site. Complying

The February 20 IAEA report said that Iran had not conducted any activities to further advance the Arak reactor.

Limit centrifuge production to those needed to replace damaged machines. Complying

The IAEA has regular managed access to centrifuge assembly workshops.

Refrain from constructing any new locations for enrichment. Complying

In a January 18 letter to the IAEA Iran said it would not pursue any new uranium enrichment sites during the six months of the agreement.

P5+1 Actions  Status 
Pause efforts to reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, allowing Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil, including the EU prohibition on providing insurance for vessels carrying Iranian oil. Complying

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers announced the suspension of sanctions preventing the insurance of vessels. However, not enough time has passed to determine if Iran’s current oil customers are importing at their current average amounts.

Enable the repatriation of $4.2 billion of Iranian revenue held abroad on the following schedule:
  • Feb. 1: $550 million
Completed**

Iran received its first installment as scheduled on February 1. These funds were released from Japan.

  • March 1: $450 million (half of the dilution of the 20% stockpile of UF6 complete)
Completed**

IAEA Director General Amano confirmed that half of the dilution was completed on time in his remarks to the IAEA Board of Governors on March 3.

  • March 7: $550 million
Completed**
  • April 10: $550 million
Completed**
  • April 15: $450 million (dilution of the entire stockpile of 20% UF6 complete)
Completed**
  • May 14: $550 million
Completed
  • June 17: $550 million
Completed
  • July 20: $550 million.
Completed
Suspend US sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports and associated services.* Completed

In a January 20 statement, the White House announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Suspend US sanctions on Iran’s import and export of gold and precious metals as well as sanctions on associated services.* Completed

In a January 20 statement, White House announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran imports of goods and services for its automotive manufacturing sector. Completed

In a January 20 statement, White House announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Suspend EU sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical exports and associated services.* Completed

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers announced the suspension of sanctions.

Suspend EU sanctions on Iran’s import and export of gold and precious metals as well as associated services.* Completed

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers announced the suspension of sanctions.

License the supply of spare parts and services for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services.* Completed

In a January 20 statement, White House Press announced that the United States would begin suspending sanctions. On April 4, Boeing confirmed that it received a license from the Treasury Department for exporting spare aircraft parts.

License safety related inspections and repairs in Iran for Iranian civil aviation sector as well as associated services.* Completed

In a January 20 statement, White House Press secretary said that the United States would begin suspending sanctions.

Establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenue held abroad:

  • food and agricultural products
  • medicine, medical devices, and medical expenses incurred abroad
  • Iran’s UN dues
  • tuition payments to universities and colleges for Iranian students studying abroad.
Completed
Increase the EU authorization thresholds for transactions for non-sanctioned trade to an agreed amount. Completed

In a January 20 press release, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers increased by tenfold the thresholds for authorizing financial transfers.

P5+1 Will Refrain From the Following Actions Status
Not pass new nuclear-related UN Security Council sanctions. Complying

There have been no new UN Security Council resolutions sanctioning Iran.

Not pass new EU nuclear-related sanctions. Complying

On December 16, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers committed not to impose any further sanctions on Iran during the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action.

Not impose new U.S. nuclear-related sanctions. Complying

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate (S1881) would impose further sanctions on Iran, but it has not yet been voted on.

Iranian Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before Nov. 24, 2014) Status
Convert 25 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium powder from oxide form to fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor Completed

According to the IAEA’s monthly progress report, Iran completed the conversion.

Convert the stockpile of uranium enriched to less than 2 percent (about 3 metric tons) to natural uranium Completed

According to the November 2014 quarterly IAEA report, Iran completed blending down the tails.

P5+1 Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before Nov. 24, 2014) Status
Enable the repatriation of $2.8 billion dollars in frozen Iranian oil revenues held abroad Completed

Iran received $2.8 billion in repatriated funds.

Iranian Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before June 30, 2015) Status
Convert 35 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium powder from oxide form to fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor In Progress

According to the Feb. 19 IAEA report, Iran has converted 32 kg since July 24, 2014.

Expand IAEA access to centrifuge production facilities to double the current frequency and allow for no-notice or “snap” inspections Complying 
Limit research and development on advanced centrifuges that move the machines to the next level of development including:

o    Iran cannot pursue semi-industrial-scale operation of the IR-2M, and without that Iran does not have the confidence to mass-produce this type of centrifuge, which would be necessary in any breakout scenario.
o    Iran cannot feed the IR-5 with uranium gas, the next step in its development.
o    Iran cannot pursue gas testing of the IR-6 on a cascade level, the next step in its development.
o    Iran cannot install the IR-8 at the Natanz Pilot Plant, without which Iran cannot move beyond mechanical testing and into gas testing.
§  *(While most of this pre-existed the extension — the extension helps plug the gaps and ensure that all models of Iran’s advanced centrifuges cannot move to the next phase of testing.)

Complying

The IAEA has regular access to the research and development area for advanced centrifuges at Natanz and has noted no violations as of December.

Forgo any other forms of enrichment, including laser enrichment Complying
P5+1 Actions ( to be completed as part of the extension before June 30, 2015) Status
Enable the repatriation of $700 million dollars per month in frozen Iranian oil revenues held abroad Complying
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