The tough negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme have come to an end. On Thursday evening (2 April), the E3+3 foreign ministers and Iran agreed to key parameters of a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme. As part of the agreement, Iran will undertake to subject its nuclear programme to international controls for up to 25 years. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier hailed the key parameters as “a great and decisive step forwards”.
Issuing a statement in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Thursday evening (2 April), Foreign Minister Steinmeier said that he too had often doubted in recent days whether it would be possible this time around to finally achieve an objective that had eluded negotiators for the past 12 years. However, the “days and nights of tough and extremely difficult negotiations” met with success in the end: Steinmeier said that the negotiators had reached consensus on key parameters of a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme. The Foreign Minister continued:
It was and remains our aim to achieve a credible political agreement that blocks Iran’s path to nuclear weapons – effectively, verifiably and in the long term. This is what we have achieved today.
Enrichment capacities must be decommissioned
Among the key parameters agreed on, Iran will undertake to subject its nuclear enrichment programme to a multi‑phase system of limitations and controls for up to 25 years. In the first ten years of the agreement, more than two thirds of Iran’s existing enrichment capacities must be decommissioned under continuous surveillance and over 95 per cent of the country’s enriched uranium downblended or shipped abroad. Further enrichment, research and development in the nuclear field are only permitted within narrow limits and under strict surveillance.
Strict surveillance by the IAEA
Furthermore, the agreement stipulates that all of Iran’s nuclear activities are to be subjected to strict international supervision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for up to 25 years. Should Iran infringe the agreed rules, sanctions that have since been lifted may enter into force again immediately.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier added that, while it is too early to celebrate, obstacles have been removed that, for a decade, stood in the way of an agreement with the key parameters agreed on today. He said that these parameters laid the foundations for the final agreement, for which there were now three months to complete negotiations.
If a final agreement is achieved, said Steinmeier, then this would not only pave the way to a resolution of the Iran conflict, but “would be the first and only conflict in the Middle East that we have managed to de‑escalate”.
Click here to read the full text of Foreign Minister Steinmeier’s statement.
Lengthy negotiations in Lausanne
While negotiations between the E3+3 foreign ministers and Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, had been held with great intensity for days prior to the agreement, they remained extremely difficult. Despite significant progress on individual issues, the talks ground to a halt time and again on a number of unresolved questions. On Wednesday, 1 April, Foreign Minister Steinmeier emphasised that “caution takes priority over speed” in the negotiations.
The Foreign Ministers of Germany, the UK, France, Russia, China and the USA, as well as EU High Representative Mogherini and the Iranian Foreign Minister, had held intense discussions on the Iranian nuclear programme in a variety of different formats since Saturday, 28 March. With regard to the goal of the negotiations, Foreign Minister Steinmeier emphasised: “We will only sign an agreement if the possibility of Iran accessing nuclear weapons is permanently and verifiably precluded.”
We, the EU High Representative and the Foreign Minister of the I. R. of Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of the E3+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the…
Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 2 April, the day on which the agreement on key parameters of a final agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme was reached: Like…
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