VIENNA — The UN atomic watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has fulfilled its commitments under the nuclear deal reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 by Tehran and six world powers.
In exchange for relief from painful sanctions, the accord dramatically scales down Iran’s nuclear program in order to make any secret drive to make nuclear weapons all but impossible.
Following are the main points in the deal:
— Cutting the number of uranium centrifuges, which can enrich uranium for nuclear fuel as well as for nuclear weapons, from more than 19,000 to 5,060 and maintaining this level for 10 years.
All enrichment is to take place at the Natanz facility. The Fordo site, containing an additional 1,044 centrifuges, will no longer enrich uranium.
— Reducing Iran’s pre-deal stockpile of 12 tons of low-enriched uranium — enough for several nuclear weapons if further enriched — to 300 kilograms (660 pounds), a ceiling that will last for 15 years.
Only enrichment to low purities is allowed, and for 15 years.
— Limiting specific research and development (R&D) activities. These activities cannot lead to the accumulation of enriched uranium.
— Redesigning Iran’s Arak reactor so that it does not produce weapons-grade plutonium, the alternative to highly-enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.
— Applying the Additional Protocol, allowing for closer inspections, including potentially of military bases.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will also employ high-tech surveillance equipment and have access to facilities such as uranium mines and centrifuge workshops for periods of up to 25 years.
The IAEA drew a line under a long-running probe into allegations of past efforts to develop a nuclear weapon in mid-December, removing an important obstacle to implementing the deal.
A UN Security Council resolution endorsing the deal has terminated all provisions of previous resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue simultaneous with the IAEA verifying Iran has implemented the above.
The same applies to US and EU nuclear-related sanctions imposed on oil exports, Iran’s financial system and other areas. Restrictions on arms sales can be lifted after five years or once the IAEA gives a “broad conclusion” that all Iranian nuclear activities are peaceful.
For ballistic missiles the period is eight years.
A Joint Commission is to be created comprising the six powers, the European Union and Iran to handle any problems, with a majority vote needed to decide whether there has been a violation.