The Iran nuclear deal simplified in seven key points

Economic sanctions

What Iran got: All nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be removed, many as early as this year. This is expected to quickly release to the Iranian government more than $100 billion worth of assets frozen overseas by the U.S. Treasury and will give the Iranian government and Iranian companies broad access to European and American markets. Sanctions imposed upon the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Quds Force, and its commander, Qasem Soleimani, will also be lifted.

What Iran gave: In return for this economic windfall, Iran is giving Western inspectors access for several years to many of its sensitive nuclear and military sites, and it is also promising to limit its levels of uranium enrichment and its uranium stockpile. Iran also did not get relief from energy and financial sanctions imposed by the U.S. linked to Iran’s human rights abuses or its support of terrorist groups and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.

For how long?: The current nuclear-related sanctions are very possibly gone forever. The only way by which they could be reimplemented would be via a dispute resolution process (popularly referred to as a “snapback” of sanctions) in which one of the parties submits a complaint to an arbitration panel consisting of the U.S., Britain, Russia, Germany, France, China, the E.U. and Iran. If the complaint can’t be resolved, the U.N. Security Council will have to vote on the sanctions.

[POLL: Weapons sanctions

What Iran got: The current ballistic missile embargo against Iran will disappear after a maximum of eight years, and the conventional weapons embargo will disappear after a maximum of five years.

What Iran gave: This is contingent on Western inspectors and diplomats agreeing that Iran’s nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes, a determination that would require Iran abide to by its end of the inspections agreement.

For how long?: Like the economics sanctions, the weapons sanctions will be gone once they’re lifted and can only theoretically be reapplied via the dispute resolution process.

Does this mean Iran's regional allies (Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthis) will see a weapons windfall?: Because the arms embargo won't be lifted for several years, Iran would have to continue finding a way around existing weapons sanctions to arm it's regional terror allies. But more consequential could be that with the immediate release of $100 billion to $150 billion in frozen oil revenues, Iran could very possibly simply transfer money to its allies in the region who could then figure out a way to purchase weapons.

Nuclear facilities

What Iran got: Iran will be able to keep all of its nuclear facilities.

What Iran gave: Iran will be restricted from using certain centrifuges and will have to conduct all research and development at its Natanz nuclear plant. It will not be allowed to conduct any uranium enrichment or enrichment research and development at Fordow, and also will not be allowed to store any nuclear material there. Iran will not be allowed to build new heavy water reactors or buy any heavy water.

For how long?: 15 years.

What about the heavy water reactor at Arak?: Heavy water is a key component of any plutonium production program and under the terms of this agreement Iran must “rebuild and redesign” the Arak heavy water reactor, cannot use it to produce weapons grade plutonium, and must ship all “spent fuel” out of Iran for the lifetime of the Arak reactor.

Will Iran be allowed to build new heavy water reactors?: Yes, after 15 years Iran can build new reactors and can accumulate heavy water, even though the restrictions set on the Arak reactor appear to last for as long as Arak does.

Uranium enrichment

What Iran gave: Iran will only be allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent, which is enriched enough for use in a nuclear power plant, but not in a bomb.

For how long?: 15 years.

Uranium stockpile

What Iran gave: Iran must reduce the stockpile of its enriched uranium to below 300 kilograms from its current level of about 10,000 kilograms, making the creation of a nuclear weapon more difficult for the duration of this restriction.

For how long? 15 years.


What Iran gave: Iran currently has about 20,000 centrifuges and will have to bring that number down to 6,000, making the creation of a nuclear weapon more difficult for the duration of this restriction.

For how long?: After 10 years these restrictions are lifted.


What Iran gave: The International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA) will have broad access to Iranian uranium ore concentrate plants, nuclear enrichment sites and sites with centrifuges. The IAEA can also inspect any site it deems suspicious, but Iran has 24 days to comply with that request.

For how long?: Some of the inspection provisions apply for 15 years, some for 20 years and some for 25 years. Beyond that, Iran isn’t required to submit to any IAEA inspections.

Will inspectors have 24/7, “anytime, anywhere” access to suspicious sites?No. The IAEA will first have to explain to Iran why they want to inspect a suspicious site. Then, Iran will have 3 weeks to either resolve the IAEA's concerns or give inspectors access. After that, the “snapback” dispute resolution process could kick in.


Update: July 16, 9 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to add and clarify certain key elements of the deal.

Update: July 17, 1:30 p.m. ET: Heavy water is specifically a key component of any plutonium production program, not for any nuclear weapons program. A nuclear weapon, though, must include either weapons-grade plutonium or uranium.

Iran’s Khamenei breaks silence in nuclear deal, says sanctions must go

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday demanded that all sanctions on Iran be lifted at the same time as any final agreement with world powers on curbing Tehran's nuclear program is concluded.

Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's most powerful figure and who has the last say on all state matters, was making his first comments on the interim deal reached between Iran and the powers last week in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

He repeated his faith in President Hassan Rouhani's negotiating team. But in remarks apparently meant to keep hardline loyalists on side, he warned about the “devilish” intentions of the United States.

“I neither support nor oppose the deal. Everything is in the details, it may be that the deceptive other side wants to restrict us in the details,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast live on state television.

His stand on the lifting of sanctions matched earlier comments by Rouhani, who said Iran would only sign a final nuclear accord if all measures imposed over its disputed atomic work are lifted on the same day.

These include nuclear-related United Nations resolutions as well as U.S. and EU nuclear-related economic sanctions.

“All sanctions should be removed when the deal is signed. If the sanctions removal depends on other processes, then why did we start the negotiations?” Khamenei said.

However, the United States said on Monday sanctions would have to be phased out gradually under the comprehensive nuclear pact. France also said on Tuesday that many differences, including on sanctions, needed to be overcome if a final agreement was to be reached.

The U.S. and EU sanctions have choked off nearly 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian exports since early 2012, reducing its oil exports by 60 percent to around 1 million barrels a day.

The tentative accord was a step toward a settlement that would allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb, with economic sanctions on Tehran being lifted in return.

Negotiators from Iran, the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China will resume negotiations in the coming days to pave the way for the final deal.

One problem is that Iran and the world powers may have different interpretations on what was agreed in the framework accord – a point Khamenei made evident.

“Americans put out a statement just a few hours after our negotiators finished their talks…this statement, which they called a 'fact sheet', was wrong on most of the issues.” Khamenei said.


Since relations with Washington collapsed after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, enmity toward the United States has always been a rallying point for Iranian hardliners.

“I was never optimistic about negotiating with America… nonetheless I agreed to the negotiations and supported, and still support, the negotiators,” Khamenei said to chants of “Death to America.”

“I support a deal that preserves the interests and honor of Iran.”

The United States and its Western allies say it is vital that Iran fully cooperate with a U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation into past nuclear activities that could be related to making weapons.

Iran for its part has said that “possible military dimensions” (PMD) are an issue it will not budge on.

“PMD is out of the question. It cannot be discussed,” an Iranian official said. This issue has not been resolved.

Khamenei ruled out any “extraordinary supervision measures” over Iran's nuclear activities.

“Iran's military sites cannot be inspected under the excuse of nuclear supervision,” he said.


A final deal would require a vigorous monitoring framework to ensure Iranian compliance. The negotiators have been working out a monitoring mechanism that would involve the IAEA. This has not been considered a sticking point in the nuclear talks.

France, which has demanded more stringent conditions on Iran, said the comments by the Iranian leadership showed that reaching a final deal would be difficult and that in any case there would need to be a mechanism in place to restore sanctions if Tehran violated its commitments.

“Subjects still remain that we aren't agreed on, notably on economic sanctions, and the Supreme Leader has made statements that show there is still a lot of work to be done,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told lawmakers.

“We are going to keep the position we have held from the beginning, which is constructive but extremely demanding,” Fabius said.

In a ceremony on Thursday to mark Iran's National Day of Nuclear Technology, Rouhani said Tehran's aim was to secure the Iranian nation's nuclear rights.

“Our goal in the talks is to preserve our nation's nuclear rights. We want an outcome that will be in everyone's benefit,” Rouhani said in a speech. “The Iranian nation has been and will be the victor in the negotiations.”

However, Khamenei said the tentative deal did not guarantee reaching a comprehensive deal by a deadline on June 30.

“What has been achieved so far does not guarantee a deal or even that the negotiations will continue to the end,” Khamenei said, adding that an extension of the deadline should not be a problem.

Khameni reiterated Iranian denials that Tehran was seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

A senior Israeli defense official repeated Israel's fears that Iran could still obtain a nuclear weapon if sanctions were lifted immediately and would have more money to spend on arming regional proxies. “The moment the sanctions are removed, tens of billions (of dollars) will flow to their coffers,” Amos Gilad said in a radio interview after Rouhani's speech. “They will get rich. They will have the power to support the entire network of missiles and rockets.”

Netanyahu to address UN in September

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he will address the United Nations General Assembly next month in New York.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Prime Minister’s Office said the Sept. 30 speech would focus on Iran. This will be the third year in a row that Netanyahu will address the United Nations.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is also expected to address the world body.

In last year’s U.N. speech, Netanyahu presented a cartoonish-looking picture of a bomb with a thick red line that he said delineated the point in Iran’s nuclear development process beyond which it must not be allowed to proceed.

Netanyahu’s 2011 address focused on peace talks with the Palestinians. He urged U.N. member states not to support the Palestinian Authority’s bid to be recognized as a non-member observer state. The Palestinian motion for a status upgrade passed anyway.

In New York, Netanyahu is expected to meet with a number of world leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly. While a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama is possible, nothing has been finalized, according to the Post.