Today, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, meets High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Frederica Mogherini and his counterparts of the E3 (France, Germany and United Kingdom). This meeting takes place after previous ones between Tehran, Moscow and Beijing.
The meeting aims to establish enhanced cooperation with Iran, in order to preserve the Iran nuclear deal after the withdrawal announced by the United States. Zarif stated that the signatories of the agreement had to give insurances to Iran as « The ultimate goal of all these talks is to obtain assurances that the interests of the Iranian people, guaranteed by [the agreement] will be defended ». He also admitted in a statement on May 10th, that « Mr. Trump’s latest action is not a new development but simply means the end of the obstructionist presence of the United States ».
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 11, 2018
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) was signed in 2015 in Vienna. It aims to control the Iranian nuclear program in return for which economic sanctions against the country are lifted. Indeed, an embargo was put in place by the United States from 1995. Moreover, embargoes on arms were decided by the United Nations and the European Union in 2006 and 2007 and prevented the economic development of the country. For example, according to the 1996 Amato-Kennedy Law, it was forbidden for any foreign enterprise (irrespective of nationality) to invest more than $ 20 million in Iran in the oil and gas sector. The US authorities are freezing their assets.
In practice, the agreement consists of a reduction in the number of Iranian centrifuges (from 19,000 to 5,000), a ratification of the JCPoA Additional Protocol by Iran involving a submission to reinforced inspections over a period of 15 years after the agreement and a limitation of plutonium production. In addition, the agreement limits uranium stocks. In the context of a civilian use, the uranium only needs a 3.67% enrichment, beyond it is considered to have a military quality. As part of the nuclear deal, Iran pledges not to enrich uranium to more than 3.67%, to do so only at the Natanz site and to limit the amount of uranium enriched to 300 Kilograms.
For further information:
Statement of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran on U.S. Government withdrawal from the JCPoA
Factsheet on Understanding the JCPoA – The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation website – http://armscontrolcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Understanding-the-Iran-Nuclear-Deal-Factsheet.pdf
Press release on today’s meeting – European External Action Service website – https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/44406/federica-mogherini-convenes-ministerial-meetings-eue3-and-eue3-iran_en