The P5+1 and Iran Nuclear Talks Alert, July 1

Mr. Amano Goes to Tehran

Negotiators decided to extend talks through July 7, with each side agreeing to continue implementation of the November 2013 interim Joint Plan of Action for the next seven days.

The decision came after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif returned to Vienna. He brought with him the head of the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, who has been sidelined from many of the negotiations since Lausanne due to health concerns. Negotiators on both sides have said that Salehi’s presence will be an asset to the talks, given his technical expertise and political role in Iran. He met with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz for several hours on June 30.

Hossein Fereydoun, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, also joined the delegation. Upon his arrival back to Vienna, Zarif told reporters he returned to “get a final deal” and thinks the negotiators can get it.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also entered the picture, arriving in Viennaon Tuesday afternoon, and meeting with Zarif and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry. Lavrov said there are still issues related to UN Security Council resolutions that remain to be resolved.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano also stopped by the Coburg Palace, where negotiations are taking place, on June 30 to consult with various negotiators for the fourth consecutive day. The IAEA announced that Amano will travel to Tehran to meet with President Rouhani on Thursday, July 2.

U.S. President Barack Obama commented on the negotiations in a June 30 press conference with the President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff. Obama said, he was hopeful for an agreement and that the “framework agreement that was established at Lausanne is one that, if implemented effectively and codified properly, would, in fact, achieve my goal, which is Iran not obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will return to Vienna on July 2.

—KELSEY DAVENPORT, director for nonproliferation policy, in Vienna

Quick Reference Links

The Nuclear Deal at a Glance Issue Brief: Under a Microscope
Experts Available for Interview Editorials Supporting a Deal
Archived Iran Nuclear Alerts Additional Resources

Arms Control Association’s Statement on the Extension

The Arms Control Association released a statement after the announcement that talks would be extended for an additional seven days. Key excerpts from the statement notes that:

These are complex negotiations, but most of the major and most difficult political decisions have already been made and the negotiators are within sight of reaching a final agreement by their revised July 7 deadline.

It is important to get all the details right so that there are no ambiguities or weaknesses in the final agreement that complicate effective and timely implementation—or that can be exploited by hard line opponents of a negotiated solution in Tehran and Washington.

wide range of nonproliferation and security experts agree that a final agreement based on the parameters agreed to on April 2 at Lausanne is clearly in the interest of both Iran and the international community. When implemented, it will put in place an effective, verifiable, enforceable, long-term plan to guard against the possibility of a new nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. It will establish long-term, verifiable restrictions on Iran's sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities.

Just as importantly, the deal will put in place a layered monitoring regime, which will include IAEA inspections under Iran's additional protocol and modified code 3.1 safeguards provisions that will last indefinitely.

This is an historic moment—both sides have come too far to walk away from an effective, long-term verifiable deal that blocks Iran’s pathways to nuclear weapons.

To read the full statement, click here.

Recap: Key Steps After a Comprehensive Agreement

According to the April 2 Lausanne framework, Iran will take key steps on nuclear-related issues before U.S. nuclear-related sanctions are waived and EU and UN nuclear sanctions are lifted.

The White House factsheet identifies steps that will be taken on uranium enrichment, Fordow, Arak, and the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, including:

  • reduction of the number of installed centrifuges to 6,104 first generation IR-1 machines;
  • reduction of the number of operating centrifuges at Natanz to 5,060 producing uranium enriched to 3.67 percent (reactor grade);
  • removal of the excess centrifuges from Fordow; and
  • reduction of the stockpile of low enriched uranium to 300 kilograms (including gas and powder) by shipping, selling, or dilution.

In total, these uranium enrichment related steps will increase the time it would take Iran to produce enough uranium enriched to weapons grade for one bomb (25 kilograms enriched to greater than 90 percent U-235) to over 12 months. Other key steps will require:

  • removal and destruction of the calandrya of the Arak reactor;
  • access to certain sites and information for the IAEA investigation into the past possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program; and
  • implementing additional monitoring and transparency measures.

Within weeks of the conclusion of the negotiations on a final deal, the UN Security Council is also expected to conclude a revised resolution that codifies the final nuclear deal—the Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action—and the steps that must be taken by each side, including the sequence and timing for international sanctions relief and/or removal.

When the IAEA verifies that Iran has taken on the necessary nuclear-related steps (relating to enrichment, Fordow, Arak, information relating to the IAEA’s PMD investigation, and transparency and monitoring) the agreement will begin and the sanctions relief will occur.

Iranian negotiators have said that that there needs to be some “proportionality” in the negotiations and Iran is still looking for assurances that sanctions relief will come after Iran takes these steps. One idea could be to continue releasing frozen assets as these steps are taken.

Graphic by Deutsche Welle (DW)

The View from an Iranian Negotiator

Ariane Tabatabai interviewed Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and negotiator Majid Ravanchi on June 30. The full text of the interview is available here from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Ravanchi shed some light on Iranian thinking about its additional protocol and managed access to military sites under that agreement by the IAEA. He noted that Iran implemented its additional protocol between 2003-2005 without problems and the agency was able to access sites it needed to without a “single problem.” He also noted that inspectors accessed military sites in the past under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Ravanchi also said said:

Now we are entering a new phase. If we are going to reach a final deal, this deal is going to include the AP. We have included in the text voluntary implementation of the AP. This will be until a later stage, where it should be ratified by the Iranian parliament. This means it will become part of Iran's national laws. So, if we reach an agreement, Iran will abide by the AP, which also entails managed access.

So if you're referring to recent developments and questions about whether or not Iran will provide managed access, you can't just discuss them in a vacuum. You have to see where and in what context these issues were raised. If you remember, when a sort of understanding was reached in Lausanne, this idea of Iran providing access to its military sites at all time, in any location, any site was raised. This has created some kind of anxiety in Iran on the actual purpose of all this. So, is this about the deal, or is it about seeing what's going on in the Iranian military? We will not allow anybody to enter the military complexes, because the AP isn't about letting inspectors visit and have a free hand in wherever they want to go, whatever they want to do, and talking about whoever they want to talk to. The AP is about providing access to certain areas where there is proof that there have been some alleged wrongdoings, the documents of which should be given to the members.

I don't think there will be any problem in the future on the implementation of the AP. You know, this is about exceptional cases, not just any case. Of course, this makes people nervous. I can't imagine the United States for instance allowing this. It's not just Iran being sensitive; no country will just open up its [military] facilities. And Iran is not an exception. We've tried to make the agency's job easier, given daily access to inspectors.

Roundup of U.S. Newspaper Editorials on the Deal

A number of newspapers from around the country have weighed-in over the past several weeks on the P5+1 and Iran negotiations. The Arms Control Association has posted a listing of them online.

Looking Ahead ...

July 7: New target date for a comprehensive deal.

July 9: Atlantic Council Event with Cliff Kupchan, Eurasia Group; Ken Katzman, Congressional Research Service; Kelsey Davenport, Arms Control Association; and John Limbert, US Naval Academy.

Location: Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. Time: 2:00-3:30pm. RSVP online.

July 13: Iran Forum Event co-hosted by US Institute for Peace, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the RAND Corporation, the Arms Control Association, the Center for a New American Security, the Stimson Center, Partnership for a Secure America, and the Ploughshares Fund. Speakers include Olli Heinonen Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University; Robin Wright Joint Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars; Ilan Goldenberg, Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security Program, Center for a New American Security, Joe Cirincione President, Ploughshares Fund.

Location: United States Institute for Peace, Washington, D.C. Time: 9:30-11:00am. RSVP online.

July 16: Arms Control Association event on the outcome of the negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran and elements of a comprehensive nuclear deal. Speakers will include Richard Nephew, program director of Economic Statecraft, Sanctions and Energy Markets and former principal deputy coordinator for sanctions policy at the U.S. State Department; Ilan Goldenberg, senior fellow and director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security and Kelsey Davenport, director for nonproliferation policy.

Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C. Time: 9:30-11:30am. RSVP online.

July 21: Center for a New American Security forum on “Iran and the Future of the Regional and Economic Security Lanscape,” with keynote speaker Colin Kahl, National Security Advisor for the Vice-President, and other expert speakers.

Location: NYU Washington, DC, 1307 L Street NW. Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. RSVP online, or by contacting Axel Hellman at 202-695-8162.