Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Iran's Obligations and Compliance to the JCPOA

With the Trump Administration threatening Iran on a more-or-less regular basis, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at Iran and how it is adhering to the deal which came into effect on October 18, 2015 (the Adoption Day), 90 days after the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015) came into effect.  

The deal which was negotiated by the P5+1(China, France Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) which is formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, allows for the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions according to a prescribed timeline.  Under JCPOA, once the agreement was implemented, the following was to happen:

"Iran envisions that this JCPOA will allow it to move forward with an exclusively peaceful, indigenous nuclear programme, in line with scientific and economic considerations, in accordance with the JCPOA, and with a view to building confidence and encouraging international cooperation. In this context, the initial mutually determined limitations described in this JCPOA will be followed by a gradual evolution, at a reasonable pace, of Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme, including its enrichment activities, to a commercial programme for exclusively peaceful purposes, consistent with international non- proliferation norms.

The E3/EU+3 envision that the implementation of this JCPOA will progressively allow them to gain confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s programme. The JCPOA reflects mutually determined parameters, consistent with practical needs, with agreed limits on the scope of Iran’s nuclear programme, including enrichment activities and R&D. The JCPOA addresses the E3/EU+3’s concerns, including through comprehensive measures providing for transparency and verification.

The JCPOA will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy."

Iran also reaffirmed that, under no circumstances, would it ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.  Iran did not reaffirm that it would not continue to develop its ballistic missile program, in fact, nowhere in the agreement does it say anything about ballistic missiles 

On January 16, 2016 (the Implementation Day), once the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had verified that Iran has implemented its key nuclear-related measures as described by the JCPOA,  the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry confirmed that Iran had met its required commitments as shown here:

Once compliance was confirmed, economic and financial sanctions against Iran for its ongoing nuclear program were lifted, however, some restrictions did remain in place including the transfer of sensitive goods that could lead to nuclear proliferation, arms and ballistic missile embargoes and restrictive measures against some of the sanctioned individuals and entities.  Here is a link to the very lengthy list of sanctions by both the European Union and the United States as specified by the JCPOA.  Here are the sanctions in effect by the United States:

Under the JCPOA, the International Atomic Energy Agency was to monitor and verify the voluntary nuclear-related measures undertaken by Iran and provide regular updates to the Board of Governors and to the United Nations Security Council.  The IAEA will be allowed to do the following:

1.) monitor uranium ore concentrate produced by Iran from all uranium ore concentrate plants for 25 years.

2.) monitor containment and surveillance of centrifuge rotors and bellows for 20 years.

3.) use IAEA approved and certified modern technologies including on-line enrichment measurement and electronic seals to ensure Iran's compliance.

4.) ensure that there is a reliable mechanism to allow speedy resolution of IAEA access concerns for 15 years.  As well, in conjunction with the P5+1 and the IAEA, Iran would be allowed to engage in joint projects in the field of peaceful nuclear technology including nuclear power plants, research reactors, fuel fabrication, the establishment of a state-of-the art regional nuclear medical centre and advanced research and development into fusion.

Here is a list of Iran's nuclear facilities covered by the agreement:

Now, let's look at the most recent quarterly report by the IAEA regarding Iran's compliance with the JCPOA.   Here are the key points:

1.) Iran has not pursued the construction of the Arak heavy water research reactor.  Iran has also not produced or tested natural uranium pellets, fuel pins or fuel assemblies specifically designed for the IR-40 reactor which is being redesigned to meet JCPOA and IAEA requirements as shown here:

2.) Iran informed the IAEA about its inventory and production of heavy water at the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) and allowed the IAEA to monitor the quantities and production of heavy water.

3.) Iran informed the IAEA of its plans to transfer 19 metric tonnes of heavy water to a destination outside of Iran.  Throughout the reporting period, Iran had no more than 130 metric tonnes of heavy water.

4.) At the Nantaz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP), there are no more than 5060 IR-1 centrifuges installed in 30 cascades which remain in the configurations that existed at the time of the JCPOA signing.    Iran has also not enriched uranium above the 3.67 percent U-235 level.

5.) Iran's total enriched uranium stockpile has not exceeded 300 kilograms of UF6 enriched up to 3.67 percent U-235.

6.) At the Ferdow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), Iran has not connected any uranium enrichment or related research and development activities throughout the reporting period.  As well, there is not any nuclear material stored at the plant.

7.) All centrifuges and associated infrastructure that is in storage has remained under continuous IAEA monitoring.

8.) The IAEA has regular access to the buildings at both Nantaz and Ferdow and has performed daily access upon Agency request.

9.) Iran has declared its inventory of centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows and permitted the IAEA to verify the items in the inventory.

10.) Iran has permitted the IAEA to monitor that all uranium ore concentrate produced in Iran or obtained from another source is transferred to the Uranium Conversion Facility located at Esfahan.

According to the report dated August 31, 2017, Iran was not found in violation of any of the terms of the JCPOA and remains compliant in all aspects.

Apparently, Washington is not terribly concerned about Iran's compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, rather, it seems to be spending its energy trying to decide how best to create the next "Spring" event in the Middle East whether it be through actual hostilities or an underhanded way of removing Iran's current democratically elected President, a skill set that was honed by the Central Intelligence Agency back in 1953 with the removal of Mohammad Mosaddegh.  In any case, the thought of yet another war must have the American defense industry rubbing its hands with glee.

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