Iran Talks: Solutions reached

Major world powers and Iran have reached framework solutions on Iran’s nuclear program and will move to complete a comprehensive agreement by the end of June, officials said on Thursday.

Framework measures, if implemented by Iran, would eventually result in the European Union and United States easing sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program. In an “international joint venture,” Iran would cut its nuclear capacity while agreeing to monitoring and modernization of its facilities.

“We have taken a decisive step. We have reached solutions on key parameters,” said EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.

Officials from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China negotiated with Iranian officials for more than a week in Lausanne, Switzerland, aiming to strike a deal that would form the basis for an accord on reining in Iran’s nuclear program. Any parameters are contingent on finalizing a deal by the end of June, and nuclear sanctions will stay in place if Iran doesn’t fulfill its commitments, officials said.

The talks hold ramifications for the international oil market, as sanctions on Iran have restricted oil exports. Brent crude was down more than 4 percent on Thursday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif—who addressed the media with Mogherini—stressed that Iran will continue to enrich uranium.

Here are some aspects of the framework, which depend on a concrete agreement being reached:

  • Iran would reduce its centrifuges by about two-thirds to 6,104. Only 5,060 of those would enrich uranium for 10 years.
  • Iran would not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for 15 years. Its would also reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
  • Excess centrifuges and enrichment equipment would be placed in monitored storage.
  • Iran’s breakout timeline—the time it needs to acquire enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon—will be extended to at least one year from 2-3 months currently.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the deal would “cut off every pathway” Iran could take to making a nuclear weapon.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the parties have moved closer to resolving “major issues” on Iran’s nuclear program.

Negotiations have become a politically divisive topic globally. A deal with Iran faces significant resistance from U.S. lawmakers, particularly House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Source: CNBC