What is the Iran nuclear deal, when was it agreed and which countries signed it?

BROKERED by the Obama White House and signed by seven world powers, the Iran nuclear deal aimed to reduce the country’s ability to produce nuclear weapons.

However, Donald Trump’s latest Twitter attack could see the hard work undone after the US President issued a dramatic warning to the leader of the Islamic Republic.

Iran agreed to abandon its nuclear programme in return for UN sanctions being lifted (file image
Iran agreed to abandon its nuclear programme in return for UN sanctions being lifted (file image)

What does the Iran nuclear deal entail?

The Iran nuclear deal was an agreement between the Islamic Republic and a group of world powers aimed at scrapping the Middle Eastern country’s nuclear weapons programme.

The deal saw Iran agree to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium by 98 per cent.

Enriched uranium is a critical component for making nuclear weapons and in nuclear power stations and by curbing the amount Iran produce is a way to curb the number of weapons produced.

As part of the agreement, Iran also agreed to only enrich their uranium up to 3.67 per cent over the next 15 years and they agreed to reduce their gas centrifuges for 13 years.

Gas centrifuges are used to separate different types of uranium which allows specific types to then be used to manufacture nuclear weapons or generators.

Iranian nuclear facilities were limited to a single facility with only first-generation centrifuges for 10 years and other nuclear facilities had to be converted into other use.

In addition, they were barred from building any more heavy-water faculties – a type of nuclear reactor which uses heavy water (deuterium oxide) as a coolant to maintain temperatures in the reactor.

Also under the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency was granted regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities to ensure Iran maintains the deal.

The deal said that if Iran abides by the deal it would receive relief from the US, European Union, and the United Nations Security Council on all nuclear-related economic sanctions.

Which world powers signed it?

  • Islamic Republic of Iran
  • China
  • France
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Germany
  • The European Union
Under the agreement they weren't allowed to mass produce enriched uranium
Under the agreement they weren’t allowed to mass produce enriched uranium
Getty – Contributor

When was it agreed?

The agreement was reached on July 14, 2015, and the world powers signed it in Vienna.

It followed years of negotiations which started in 2013.

The nuclear deal followed the Joint Plan of Action which had temporarily frozen parts of Iran’s nuclear sanctions as the countries worked towards a long-term agreement.

It appeared that US President Donald Trump would follow through on his threats as the New York Times reported that he told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron that he plans to announce the withdrawal of the US from the deal, according to a person briefed on the conversation.

Trump had repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, which he has called “ridiculous” as well as “insane” and earlier set a May 12 deadline for deciding whether to pull out.

It is so far uncertain on just how the withdrawal will work in practical terms.

Just days before Trump announced his decision, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appealed to Trump on Fox & Friends not to rip up the agreement, urging him not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”.

On July 23 2018, Trump’s war of words with Iran escalated once more, as he threatened the Islamic Republic if they did anything to hard the United States.

The argument was triggered the day before by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, when he compared Iran to the mafia.

What is the timeline of Iran’s nuclear progression?

  • 1970s –  Iran develops a nuclear technology after the U.S. Atoms for peace programme began providing assistance to them
  • 1979 – The Iranian Revolution took place and the country’s nuclear programme fell into disarray
  • 1980s – Iran restarts its nuclear programme with assistance from Pakistan. Iran starts pursuing a nuclear fuel cycle by mining uranium
  • 2002 – An Iranian dissident group publicly reveal the existence of two secret nuclear facilities, the Arak heavy-water facility and the Natanz enrichment facility
  • 2003 – Iranian President Mohammad Khatani acknowledges the existence of the facilities and claims they were “small-scale enrichment experiments”
  • May 2003 – Iran allows IAEA inspectors to visit the Kalaye Electric Company but refused to let them take samples
  • June 2003 – Faced with the prospect of being referred to the UN security council enters into diplomatic negotiations with France, Germany and the UK. The USA refuses to be involved
  • Later in June Iran agreed to fully cooperate with the IAEA and in October allows them to take samples
  • 2004 – Iran signs the Paris Agreement and suspends enrichment and conversion activities including manufacturing, testing and installing
  • August 2005 – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is elected president of Iran and accuses the Paris Agreement negotiators of treason. Talks fall apart
  • February 2006 – Iran resumes enrichment at Natanz and is referred to the UN Security Council
  • July 2006 – UN security council passes its final resolution demanding Iran stops uranium enrichment and processing
  • 2006 – 2010 – A number of resolutions are passed against Iran by the UN
  • March 2013 – The USA began a series of talks with Iran
  • June 2013 – Hassan Rouhani was elected as president of Iran and calls for negations with Europe
  • September 2013 – Obama and Rouhani have their first telephone conversation and US secretary of state John Kerry meets with the Iranian foreign minister
  • November 24 2013 – After several rounds of negotiation the Joint Plan of Action is agreed as an interim agreement
  • July 24 2015 – The Iran Nuclear Deal is signed in Vienna, Austria
  • April 30 2018 – The US and Israel accuse Iran of covertly continuing the development of nuclear weapons
  • May 8 2018 – President Donald Trump announces the US will withdraw from the agreement – while European leaders and Russia said they would fight for its survival
  • July 23 2018 – President Trump issues dramatic warning to Iran saying the Islamic Republic would suffer “historic consequences” if it threatened the United States.

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