April 3, 2015

Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran Is Celebrating Victory

The moment Tehran received information on the conclusion of a framework agreement on the basis of long and difficult negotiations in Lausanne (Switzerland) in the format Iran-G5 + 1, crowds of Tehranians took to the streets of the Iranian capital with banners, flags and portraits of President Hassan Rouhani to celebrate victory!

Early in the morning on Friday, April 3 at the airport in Tehran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a statement about the long-awaited breakthrough achieved in the intense negotiations in Lausanne.

All through the day of April 3, emotional Iranians were publishing on social networks a lot of videos and photos of the capital city's streets, filled with thousands of cars decorated with flags and photos.

As reported by the Iranian news agency IRNA, intensive negotiations on the Iranian atom ended on the night of Friday, April 3 this year, in the agreement on the key points of a future comprehensive agreement that must be signed by the end of June 2015. The agency also stated that at this the EU will lift the economic sanctions against Iran if the latter fulfills the agreements.

So is there a reason to celebrate victory?

Late in the evening of April 2, the head of the EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini in her address said: “Today we have taken the plunge. During the negotiations, there have been made decisions on key parameters of the future joint action plan, and this decision is critically important because it has laid the basis for the final text of the comprehensive plan”.

She also clarified that the agreement between Iran and the “Six” on the nuclear program would require the consent of the UN Security Council.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Washington and Brussels would start removing unilateral sanctions against Iran in parallel with lifting of the sanctions of the UN Security Council.

In his turn, President Barack Obama said that some of the sanctions against Iran will be removed as the agreement will be fulfilled. Other sanctions, in particular, for human rights violations will remain in force.

Very positively the results of the negotiations and the achieved results were appreciated by Algeria, Spain, India, Turkey, Japan and several other countries. The UN agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who will monitor the implementation of Iran's obligations, also praised the framework agreement.

The Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in his turn, called the negotiations in Lausanne “historic” ones, stating about Iran's readiness to immediately begin work on the draft agreement. At this, he expressed hope that the agreement will be the basis for further serious work in the coming years, and “will change the nature of Iran's relationship” with the international community. “Last night we had been working for more than 9 hours and were doing all these efforts to create a document that will not be observed. Last night we had been making history,” concluded J. Zarif.

But let's fling off the pompous lyrics and look at the facts. For the sake of implementation of the agreements and lifting of sanctions, Tehran would have to take a number of measures and in particular, to significantly reduce the number of objects to enrich nuclear fuel, and at this, Iran will actually have only one plant in Natanz.

Tehran plans to convert the plant for uranium enrichment in Fordo into a Nuclear, Physics and Technology Center, where “there will be no fissioning materials”. As for the heavy water reactor in Arak, the International Joint Firm has expressed readiness to assist Iran in its redevelopment and reconstruction. The Framework Agreement states that the company will not be engaged in processing and all the spent fuel will be exported.

According to the Foreign Minister of Iran Javad Zarif's statement, Iran intends to sell surplus enriched uranium in exchange for natural uranium that would be an important and innovative development of the country's nuclear program.

Iran has also agreed not to build new facilities for uranium enrichment and the remaining centrifuge and equipment for enrichment to be passed over under the control of the IAEA. Besides, the level of enrichment of uranium should not exceed 3.67 % for 15 years, and Tehran will decrease its stocks of enriched uranium, by 98 % in 10 years. The question of what exactly part of the already enriched uranium has to be exported from the country, will be decided on additional negotiations.



It is interesting to recall that, as of today, Iran enjoys and will enjoy the rights assigned to it, namely:

  • To conduct nuclear research for peaceful purposes;
  • To keep about six thousand working centrifuges of the 18 thousand that it has;
  • To independently enrich uranium.

These rights are enshrined in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In this case, the fact itself is more important to Iran than its practical significance.

As for sanctions, Tehran considers them to be illegal, and therefore it reasonably believes that they, though not all at once, but at least in part will be canceled in the early stages of implementation of the agreements.

Iran keeps insisting that the sanctions relating to such sectors as oil, finance and banking, should be lifted immediately after the conclusion of the Final Agreement. The fate of the remaining sanctions will be solved step by step, on the basis of a thorough international monitoring of Tehran's carrying out the agreements.

UN sanctions are mainly related to supplying Tehran with offensive weapons, nuclear technologies, some aspects of finance and trade, as well as restrictions on moving about the world and “freezing” the assets of a number of Iranian officials.

Finally, about guarantees of fulfilling of the Agreement. The parties have agreed on forms of a permanent international monitoring of Iran's fulfilling the agreements. In case of violations, the sanctions against it will be introduced again.


 At this, we should not forget that the firm and consistent opponents of the agreement with Iran on its nuclear program are the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Moreover, on the eve of these negotiations, the US Secretary of State John Kerry had visited Riyadh on a working visit to persuade Saudi Arabia and other members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) that signing this agreement would not affect the regional security and would not accelerate Iran's growing influence.

Minister for International, Strategic Affairs and the Israeli Intelligence Yuval Steinitz said that the Islamic Republic threatens Israel and all other countries in the Middle East. At the same time, despite repeated assurances from US President in support of Israel, Head of the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman urged his compatriots to “be ready to act against the Iranian nuclear threat on our own, without the support of the US and other world powers.”

Thus, the technical part of the Comprehensive Agreement has been agreed on, and now all that remains is by the end of June to coordinate and prepare for signing the whole Agreement.