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January 16, 2016, marks the start of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed in Vienna on July 14, 2015, by the ministers of foreign affairs of the EU+3 (Russia, the USA, China, the UK, France and Germany) and Iran with the participation of the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini in order to settle the situation regarding Iran's nuclear programme. The JCPOA is designed to provide a comprehensive and final solution to this problem.

The JCPOA contains the main text of the Agreement and five detailed technical annexes: Tehran's nuclear-related commitments, the procedure of lifting UN SC sanctions and US and EU unilateral restrictions against Iran, the list of possible areas of cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, modalities of the Joint Commission comprising the E3/EU+3 and Iran, and the sequence of reciprocal actions to be taken by the E3/EU+3 and Iran.

On July 20, 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2231 endorsing the JCPOA. On December 15, 2015, the IAEA Board of Governors (BG) adopted its resolution on Iran prepared by the E3/EU+3 on the basis of the Russian draft. This resolution closes the file on possible military dimensions to Tehran's nuclear programme, terminates all previous BG resolutions on Iran's issue, clearly defines the prospect of closing this file by the Agency, as well as lays legal ground for IAEA verification activities in Iran during JCPOA implementation.

The start of the JCPOA implementation became possible after the IAEA issued its report confirming that Tehran had brought its nuclear programme in line with the Plan of Action.

To that end, Iran had reduced its uranium enrichment capacity at the Natanz plant to 5,060 centrifuge machines and the level of uranium enrichment to 3.67 percent, removed all other centrifuges and related infrastructure, having placed them under IAEA custody. The stockpile of 5 percent enriched uranium had been reduced to the level of 300 kg, and the excess had been transported to Russia. Iran's uranium enrichment R&D is brought in compliance with the restricted programme agreed within the JCPOA. The former uranium enrichment plant in Fordow will be converted with Russia's support for the production of stable isotopes.

Iran has also removed the core of the unfinished heavy water reactor in Arak. The international consortium of the EU+3, Iran, and possibly third countries will take part in redesigning the reactor in such a manner as to exclude any possibility for producing weapons grade plutonium. All excess Iran-produced heavy water that will exceed the needs of the redesigned Arak facility must be made available by Iran on the international market. Tehran has committed not to engage in any spent fuel reprocessing or spent fuel reprocessing R&D activities for 15 years.

Iran has started to implement the Additional Protocol to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA and modified Code 3.1 (advance notification of the IAEA on construction of new nuclear facilities), which is key for confirming the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme. Besides, the number of Agency inspectors who will be present at Iran's nuclear facilities on a continuing basis has increased. Most advanced technologies for monitoring and verification, such as, for example, electronic seals and electronic systems of continuous enrichment level monitoring, are at their disposal. An effective mechanism has been established within the JCPOA to resolve disputes concerning Agency's access to certain Iranian facilities where hypothetically activities that are inconsistent with the JCPOA can be carry out.

In response to these nuclear-related measures on the part of Iran, all effective UN SC resolutions (some restrictive measures remain, but they are established through a separate annex to UN SC resolution 2231) and a number of US unilateral sanctions (mainly financial, as well as exterritorial and those affecting the interests of third countries), as well as all EU restrictive measures were terminated.

The UN SC will maintain restrictions on the export from Iran of all arms and on import to Iran of seven categories of arms from the UN Register of Conventional Arms for a period of five years. The authorization regime is introduced for relevant shipments, which will be subject to UN SC approval. A similar mechanism, but for eight years, will regulate the issue of missile technology export to Iran.

A special procurement channel of nuclear and dual-use goods to Iran under relevant lists of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will apply for ten years. These supply activities are subject to approval of the UN SC, which will be guided by the JCPOA Joint Commission recommendation. UN SC resolution 2231 will be effective for 10 years after which the Iranian issue will be removed from the Security Council agenda.

The effective periods for all the abovementioned measures, including UN SC resolution 2231, are counted from October 18, 2015, when the JCPOA entered into force. However, they can be terminated earlier if the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

The UN SC resolution provides for the mechanism of possible reintroduction of sanctions if one of the JCPOA participants decides that Iran does not fulfill its obligations or seriously breached them. However, the reinstatement of the sanctions regime is only possible by means of a procedure requiring weighty argumentation for the consideration by the Joint Commission, which acts as a "filter" before submitting this issue to the UN SC, which will keep the decisive role in considering the sanctions and other issues of agreement's implementation. At the same time, automatic re-imposing of UN SC sanctions has been ruled out: a participant seeking to reinstate them will have to put to vote the positive UN SC resolution on maintaining the regime of sanctions lifting, and vote against it.

Within the JCPOA, Russia has succeeded in proving the inadmissibility of undermining international law and neutralized attempts to set precedents of eroding the UN SC competence, the practices of implementing the nuclear non‑proliferation regime, export control and IAEA verification activities, which could be used later to infringe our interests. The JCPOA and the UN SC resolution contain special provisions stipulating that no Agreement measures set any precedents.

The start of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on January 16 marks a totally new phase of the Iranian nuclear programme. New opportunities should be used in the interests of regional and international security, as well as for strengthening nuclear non-proliferation.

Iran has shown its commitment to fully comply with its JCPOA obligations. The whole set of measures stipulated by the Plan and UN SC resolution 2231 will provide a reliable guarantee of the exclusively peaceful nature of Tehran's nuclear programme. This renders the logic of the Iranian nuclear programme development absolutely clear and controllable.

Russia will promote JCPOA sustainability.