On January 16, 2016 the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was implemented between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the E3/EU+3 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy). The JCPOA aims to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful. To achieve this, multiple concessions were applied to the Iranian nuclear program including:
- Limitations on Iran’s uranium enrichment capabilities.
- Limitations on the Iranian stockpile of enriched uranium, as well as maximum uranium-235 enrichment of 3.67% for stockpiled uranium.
- A redesign and modification to the Arak IR-40 natural uranium fueled heavy water research reactor. This modification significantly reduces the risk of weapons-grade plutonium production.
- All spent fuel was shipped out of Iran, to avoid the possibility of reprocessing to obtain plutonium.
- Iran applied the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol (INFCIRC/540) to its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (INFCIRC/153) with IAEA.
- Iran allows the IAEA to monitor the implementation of the JCPOA.
- Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran seek to develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.
In return for these concessions, the United States and its partners suspended all United Nations Security Council nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions on Iran.
Many government officials and nuclear experts viewed the JCPOA as an effective tool for limiting the risk of Iranian nuclear proliferation. However, on May 8, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the JCPOA. All Iran-related U.S. sanctions will be reinstated by November 4, 2018. These actions raise the possibility that the JCPOA may collapse. This study aims to analyze the effects of the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA as well as the effects of a possible EU withdrawal from the JCPOA to determine the influence on Iran’s proliferation risk. The analysis of political effects of JCPOA party withdrawals will support us to evaluate a quantitative metric, the nuclear weapons latency of Iran. The nuclear weapons latency of Iran will be calculated as a function of JCPOA withdrawals.
- K. Rathore, J. Osborn, M. Fuhrmann, and S. Chirayath, "Investigating Iran’s Nuclear Latency Subject to the Status of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", 60th Annual Meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management (INMM), Palm Desert, California, 14-18 July 2019.
- K. Rathore S.S. Chirayath, "Investigation on Iran’s Nuclear Weapon Latency Time in Case of Non-Compliance with JCPOA", Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, 120 (2019).