The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at a Glance

Contact: Kelsey Davenport, Director of Nonproliferation Policy, (202) 463-8270 x102; Julia Masterson, Research Associate, (202) 463-8270 x103

This nuclear deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, adopted on July 20, 2015.

Iran’s compliance with the nuclear-related provisions of the JCPOA is verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) according to certain requirements set forth in the agreement. 

The following is a summary of the timeline, key components, and the current status of the multi-year agreement.

Timeline for Implementation

  • July 14, 2015, Finalization Day: conclusion of the agreement. Finalization day triggers Iran and the United States to begin domestic review processes of the JCPOA. Iran also begins providing the IAEA with information necessary for the agency to complete its investigation into past activities related to nuclear weapons development.      
  • October 18, 2015, Adoption Day: 90 days after the passage of the UN Security Council Resolution endorsing the deal (July 20, 2015). Adoption day triggers Iran and the P5+1 to take steps (outlined below) to meet the commitments to fully implement the JCPOA.      
  • January 16, 2016, Implementation Day: the IAEA certifies that Iran has taken the key steps to restrict its nuclear program and has put in place increased monitoring. The IAEA's report on implementation day triggers U.S., EU, and UN sanctions relief.      
  • October 2023, Transition Day: Eight years after adoption day (or the IAEA reaching its broader conclusion on Iran's nuclear program, whichever is sooner). Transition day triggers the UN to lift missile restrictions, Iran to seek ratification of its additional protocol, the EU to terminate all remaining nuclear sanctions, United States to remove certain entities from the sanctioned list, and the United States to seek legislative termination of certain sanctions.      
  • October 2025, Termination Day: Ten years after adoption day. Termination day terminates Resolution 2231 and the Security Council closes Iran's nuclear file.
Key Requirements and Actions Mandated by the JCPOA
  • For 10 years operating centrifuges reduced to 5,060 IR-1 machines, total machines is 6,104 IR-1s
  • Excess centrifuges (over 13,000) dismantled and stored under IAEA monitoring
  • For 15 years level of uranium enrichment capped at 3.67 percent uranium-235
  • For 15 years enrichment only at Natanz
  • For 10 years no production of additional IR-1 centrifuges
  • Between years 11-13 Iran can replace IR-1s with the equivalent capacity of IR-6 and IR-8 machines and limits lasting to years 14-15  
Uranium Stockpile
  • For 15 years the stockpile is kept under 300 kilograms of 3.67 percent enriched uranium in total (all forms)
  • Excess enriched uranium sold, shipped abroad for storage, or diluted to natural uranium levels
  • Uranium oxide and scrap material enriched up to 20 percent fabricated into fuel for Tehran Research Reactor, blended down, or shipped out
  • Converted to research facility for stable isotope production with Russian cooperation
  • 1,044 IR-1 centrifuges in six cascades will remain here, 328 for production, the remaining 700 are idle
  • For 15 years no introduction of uranium at the facility
Advanced Centrifuge Research and Development
  • For 8.5 years Iran may conduct research with uranium on a single IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuge at Natanz
  • After 8.5 years test up to 30 IR-6s and 30 IR-8s
  • After 8 years manufacture up to 200 IR-6s and 200 IR-8s centrifuges without rotors
  • For 10 years Joint Commission review and approval of changes to the research and development plan
Arak Reactor
  • Remove and disable the original core of the Arak reactor
  • Replace the core of the Arak reactor to reduce weapons-grade plutonium output, certified by the Joint Commission
  • For 15 years no reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel with an intention to never reprocess
  • Permanent commitment to ship out spent nuclear fuel
  • For 15 years no heavy-water reactors in Iran
  • For 15 years no accumulation of heavy water in Iran
  • Construction of hot cells or shielded glove boxes of certain specifications subject to approval of the Joint Commission


Monitoring and Verification
  • By 15 October 2015 Iran fully implements PMD “roadmap” agreed with IAEA
  • For 10 years approval of the purchase of dual-use materials by the Joint Commission working group
  • For 25 years continuous monitoring of lran’s uranium mines and mills
  • For 20 years continuous monitoring of lran’s centrifuge production facilities
  • For 15 years Joint Commission oversight of IAEA access requests to inspect undeclared sites
  • Permanent prohibition of certain weaponization related activities
  • Implementation and eventual ratification of an additional protocol to Iran’s safeguards agreement
  • Permanent implementation of modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements to its Safeguards Agreement
Joint Commission
  • For 25 years Joint Commission (composed of P5+1, EU and Iran for a total of 8 voting members) will hold quarterly meetings, or by request, to oversee the deal
  • Dispute resolution mechanism within 35 days; 15 day dispute resolution mechanism within the Joint Commission, with optional 15 day ministerial review and/or arbitration opinion from a 3 member panel, followed by 5 day review of the arbitration opinion. If no resolution and complaining party sees action as “significant non-performance,’ the unresolved issue can be treated as grounds to cease performing commitments in whole or part, complaining party will notify UN Security Council
  • Any party can go to the UN Security Council to put sanctions back in place if there is noncompliance by vetoing a resolution calling for the continuance of sanctions
UN Sanctions
  • UNSC resolution 2231 endorsing JCPOA outlines termination of all previous resolutions targeting lran’s nuclear program — 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), 1835 (2008), 1929 (2010) —on implementation day.
  • For 10 years sanctions are subject to snapback by veto of a resolution calling for the continuation of suspension
  • After 10 years UN will cease to be seized of Iran’s nuclear file
  • For 5 years the heavy arms embargo will remain in place
  • For 8 years the ballistic missile restrictions will remain in place
U.S. Sanctions
  • Cease the application of economic sanctions against lran’s oil and banking sector allowing Iranian banks and companies to reconnect with international systems
  • Will remove designation of certain entities and individuals
  • Allows for licensed non-U.S. entities that are owned or controlled by a U.S. person to engage in activities with lran permitted under JCPOA
  • Allows for the sale of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran
  • Allows for license for importing Iranian-origin carpets and foodstuffs into United States
  • United States takes appropriate measures to address laws at state or local level preventing full implementation of JCPOA - United States will actively encourage officials to adhere to JCPOA policy
  • For 8 years after Adoption date, or sooner if IAEA concludes that all nuclear activity in Iran remains peaceful, U.S. will seek legislative action to terminate/modify nuclear related sanctions
  • U.S. sanctions on Iran targeting human rights, terrorism and missile activities remain
  • United States can impose additional sanctions for non-nuclear issues (terrorism, human rights, etc.)
EU Sanctions
  • Terminate all provisions of the EU Regulation related to Iran’s nuclear program
  • Includes: financial and banking transactions; transactions in Iranian Rial; provision of U.S. banknotes to Iranian government; access to SWIFT; insurance services; efforts to reduce Iran's crude oil and petrochemical product sales; investment; transactions with Iran's energy and shipping sector; trade in gold and other precious metals; trade with lran’s automotive sector
  • Removes individuals and entities designated under sanctions
  • EU refrains from re-introducing sanctions terminated under JCPOA (Iran views any re-introduction as grounds to cease performing its commitments)
  • Refrain from policy intended to adversely affect normalization of economic relations with Iran
  • For 8 years after adoption day or at the finding of the IAEA broader conclusion EU's arms embargo and restrictions on transfer of ballistic missiles remain