After double overtime negotiations in Lausanne, Iran and six world powers have announced a framework deal that largely covers the key points of a nuclear agreement but that leaves the technical details to be worked out over the next three months.
The joint statement outlined several key points:
- Natanz will be the only Iranian facility allowed to carry out uranium enrichment, and the deeply buried Fordow enrichment site will be converted into a nuclear research facility.
- Iran will be allowed to continue enrichment in limited amounts, and all spent fuel will be shipped out of the country.
- The Arak heavy water reactor, which is still under construction, will be redesigned so that no plutonium is produced at the site.
- All three of the sites will be heavily supervised.
Notably, there was no mention of the Parchin military facility, where Iran has been suspected of engaging in nuclear weapons research. Iran has publicly insisted that it would not subject its military facilities to inspection, though it is unclear what has been conceded to assuage concerns about the activity at this facility.
The statement also did not specify how long the terms of the final accord would last — another question left for the final agreement.
Though there are several critical ambiguities in the joint statement, on the whole this statement is highly favorable to Iran. The careful wording was designed to enable Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to sell this deal at home, and could help stave off U.S. congressional dissent in the months leading up to the June 30 deadline — though the deal does not depend on congressional approval for implementation.