Negotiations between Iran and six world powers concluded in a nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on July 14. Under the JCPOA, Iran agrees not to create a nuclear bomb in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have permanent access to Iran's nuclear facilities to monitor activity, and the US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany will continue to meet with Iran's leaders at least every two years to review implementation of the agreement. The European Union sanctions will be lifted either eight years from the date of adoption or when the IAEA verifies Iran's nuclear materials are being used for non-aggressive purposes—whichever is sooner. However, all sanctions will be put back in place if Iran violates the terms of the agreement. Iran must remove two-thirds of its centrifuges, ship all spent fuel from the reactor out of the country, and limit uranium research and development to a single facility. President Barack Obama stated in an address that he plans to veto any legislation from Congress that blocks the implementation of this deal.
This nuclear agreement was reached after the 20-month negotiations continued through several deadlines in hopes of progress. Over the past several years Iran has been subject to numerous sanctions for its contentious nuclear program. Iranian leaders have repeatedly claimed that the developing nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the international community, Israel in particular, worries that Iran's enrichment program was designed for military purposes.
From Jurist, July 14. Used with permission.
Note: The JCPOA builds on a 2013 interim agreement, the Joint Plan of Action. The negotiations have been consistently opposed by Israel, and were a key issue in Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial Congressional address in March. Israel is believed to actually have nuclear weapons, and has been in a missile race with Iran in recent years. Iran's clerical establishment has issued fatwas that seem to both condone and condemn nuclear weapons. Many commentators have noted that this agreement comes as the US is in a de facto alliance with Iran as part of the Great Power convergence against ISIS.