Framework for final nuclear deal with Iran sealed

An outline agreement on the future shape of Iran’s nuclear programme was reached on 2 April 2015, after marathon talks with six major powers in Switzerland. Under the deal, Iran will reduce its uranium enrichment capacity in exchange for phased sanctions relief.

US President Barack Obama said a “historic understanding” had been reached with Iran.

The world powers and Iran now aim to draft a comprehensive nuclear accord by 30 June 2015.

The talks between the so-called P5+1—US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany—and Iran at Lausanne’s Beau-Rivage Palace hotel continued beyond the original self-imposed deadline of 31 March.

A joint statement outlined the main points, including a reduction in the number of Iran’s operating centrifuges, changes to its nuclear facilities, and a promise to lift sanctions if these steps are verified. This is an unwritten understanding, not a formal agreement, and it lays the foundation for very tough negotiations on the details.

But for now its architects are celebrating a hard won, potentially historic, achievement.

Iran denies Western claims it is trying to build a nuclear weapon. It entered negotiations in order to see sanctions lifted.

According to a US fact-sheet issued after the talks, the outline deal includes the following conditions:

  • Iran will reduce its installed centrifuges—used to enrich uranium—by two-thirds and reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium;
  • The centrifuges that are no longer in use will be placed in storage, monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
  • All of Iran’s nuclear facilities will be subject to regular IAEA inspections;
  • Iran will redesign its heavy-water reactor in Arak so that it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium;
  • US and EU sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme will be lifted in phases, but can be brought back if Iran does not meet its obligations.
  • India welcomed the understanding on the contentious nuclear issue, emphasising New Delhi always maintained for a peaceful resolution of the issue with and Tehran’s right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

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