The United States, Iran and five other world powers say they've reached an understanding that will direct them toward achieving a comprehensive nuclear agreement within three months.
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Reading out a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said a "decisive step" has been achieved. Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif read out the same statement in Farsi.
U.S. President Barack Obama, making a statement on the breakthrough in the talks, said U.S. and allies reached a historic nuclear deal with Iran, which he called, "A good deal."
The main points of the framework agreement reached:
The agreement term: The agreement will be in effect for between 10 and 15 years during which there will be strict limitations and oversight of the Iranian nuclear program. Some of the clauses of the agreement will be in effect for 20 to 25 years.
Uranium enrichment: Iran will continue to operate 6,104 out of the 19,000 centrifuges within its territory. All of the centrifuges in operation will of the oldest generation Iran has. Iran will deliver the 1,000 advanced centrifuges in its possession to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
For 10 years, Iran will be able to operate only 5060 centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.
Iran pledged that for 15 years it will not enrich uranium to more than 3.5 percent – a level at which a nuclear weapon cannot be produced. Iran has pledged that for 15 years it will not build another nuclear facility besides the one at Natanz.
All additional enrichment materials – including 5,000 additional centrifuges that are at Natanz will be collected and placed for safekeeping under the oversight of the IAEA.
Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile: Iran agreed to do away with most of its stockpile of uranium enriched to the relatively low levels of 3.5, and which now stands at nearly 10 tons. This stockpile will be diluted to a level that cannot be used for making nuclear weapons, or will be taken out of the country. For 15 years, Iran will not be in possession of more than 300 kilograms of low-level enriched uranium.
The underground nuclear reactor at Fordo: This site will be converted from an enrichment facility into a nuclear physics research facility. Iran pledged that for 15 years it will not enrich uranium at Fordo and will not carry out research and development in the realm of uranium enrichment there. Iran pledged that for 15 years it will not store fissile nuclear material at the Fordo site. Out of 3,000 centrifuges currently installed at Fordo, 1,000 will remain operational there, though not for enriching uranium. The remaining 2,000 centrifuges will be conveyed for safekeeping to the IAEA.
The Arak heavy water reactor: Iran agreed to replan the reactor, in conjunction with the six world powers, so that it cannot produce material that could be used for nuclear weapons. The current reactor core, from which a large quantity of plutonium can already be produced, will be destroyed or removed from Iran. As long as the reactor is operational, Iran will remove from the country all the nuclear fuel it used at the reactor. Iran has pledged not to build another heavy water reactor for 15 years.
Research and development: For 10 years, Iran will not make use for uranium enrichment of the advanced centrifuges it is developing. Iran can continue limited research and development of advanced centrifuges in accordance with agreements it will reach with the world powers.
Oversight: The IAEA will receive free and regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and will be able to use advanced technology to monitor Iranian activity. The IAEA will follow up raw materials and parts that have been used in the nuclear program to ascertain that they are not being used for a covert nuclear program. The IAEA will monitor uranium mines in Iran for 25 years. The IAEA will monitor storage and assembly facilities for centrifuges in Iran for 20 years.
Iran will sign and ratify the additional protocol of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which stipulates that IAEA inspectors can conduct unrestricted random searches at any suspicious facility in Iran.
Iran will implement its agreement with the IAEA to clarify suspicions of the existence of military aspects to Iran’s nuclear program.
Sanctions: After implementation of the agreement by Iran, all sanctions that applied on Iran by the United States and the EU on banking, insurance, and oil will be lifted immediately. The UN Security Council will make a resolution that will replace six earlier resolutions that leveled sanctions on Iran, and will decide which of the sanctions will remain in place. If Iran breaks the agreement, the sanctions related to its nuclear program will be reinstated immediately. The American sanctions on Iran in the realm of terror, human rights violations and Iran’s missile program will remain in place.