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Geneva Interim Nuclear Agreement Tracker

On November 24, 2013 the P5+1 and Iran signed the "Joint Plan of Action" (JPA), an accord to freeze progress on certain elements of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Following nearly two months of additional negotiations, on January 12, 2014 the parties announced that the agreement would commence on January 20, 2014 and conclude on July 20, 2014. The interim agreement is intended to build confidence between the P5+1 and Iran and provide time for additional negotiations that will ultimately lead to a final comprehensive agreement - within "no more than one year" - that resolves all outstanding concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

As the July 20 deadline approached, the P5+1 and Iran agreed on July 18 to extend the JPA by four months to November 24, 2014, exactly one year after the two parties signed the JPA. On November 24, the parties extended negotiations for a second time, giving negotiators a deadline of "up to four months" to reach a political framework agreement and until June 30, 2015 to "finalize any possible remaining technical and drafting work" to clinch a comprehensive nuclear deal.

UANI is methodically tracking how the provisions of the agreement and obligations of the parties are being implemented and interpreted by each side. As part of this effort, UANI is tracking how the agreement is affecting Iranian business activity and trade as measured by a number of key economic indicators, as well as its impact on the international sanctions regime.

Payments to Iran Under the JPA

Nuclear Breakout Timeline: How Quickly Could Iran Make the Bomb?

Prior to the interim agreement, Iran’s estimated ‘breakout’ time to build a nuclear weapon was approximately 1.5 months. After the JPA was struck in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry touted, “We now have a mechanism by which we are going to expand the amount of time in which [the Iranians] can break out [to obtain nuclear capability] rather than narrow it.” In reality, the accord has done little to push back Iran's breakout time, with Kerry himself stating in a Senate hearing that Iran’s breakout had been pushed back “to about two months.” That only represents about a two week extension of Iran’s breakout capability prior to Geneva. Based on the $11.9 billion in frozen assets the P5+1 is releasing to Iran as part of the interim deal, the regime is effectively being awarded $850 million for each day it extends its nuclear breakout.


Iran's Continued Nuclear Progress

President Obama has hailed the interim nuclear agreement as marking “the first time in a decade that the Islamic Republic of Iran has agreed to specific actions that halt progress on its nuclear program and roll back key parts of the program.” He later remarked, “Beginning January 20th, Iran will for the first time start… dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible…” Iranian officials, however, have rejected the President’s assertions. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, “I can say definitively that the structure of our nuclear program will be exactly preserved. Nothing will be put aside, dismantled or halted.”

In reality there are a number of ways in which the Iranian regime has continued to develop its nuclear program during the interim agreement, as outlined below.

Arak Heavy Water Reactor

Excavation and civil construction work continues at the Arak heavy water reactor, which could serve as a possible plutonium pathway for a nuclear weapon. Work on nuclear components for the reactor is suspected to continue offsite and the U.S. has accused Iran of increasing efforts to illicitly procure components for the reactor in violation of UN sanctions.

R&D, Development of Advanced Centrifuges

Iran continues to conduct extensive research and development related to its nuclear program, including on advanced centrifuges. The IR-8 centrifuge Iran is testing is said to be 24 times more efficient than Iran’s currently deployed model.  Iran may also have thousands of more advanced centrifuges than it has declared. If put into operation, these centrifuges could dramatically reduce Iran’s breakout time to only a matter of weeks, if not days.

Long-Range Ballistic Missile Development

Iran's continues development of its long-range ballistic missile program, which is a central component of any viable nuclear weapons program as the delivery mechanism for a nuclear warhead.

Expansion of Enriched Uranium Stockpile

Iran’s stockpile of nuclear material is increasing as Iran continues to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is then converted into easily reversible oxide form. From the official start of the JPA on January 20, 2014 to the initiation of its second extension on November 24, 2014, Iran has produced 2,566 kilograms of LEU. Therefore, during the course of the JPA, Iran has added enough LEU to its already sizable stockpile to prospectively build an additional nuclear bomb.

New Nuclear Reactors

Iran has begun constructing two new nuclear power plants in the Southern province of Bushehr in cooperation with Russia.


P5+1 Negotiating Concessions

Comparing the positions of the U.S. and Iran on the core components of an emerging nuclear accord, what is clear is that the Administration has made major concessions to Tehran.

1. Duration of Agreement: When Will Be the "Sunset" of a Deal?


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
Chief U.S. nuclear negotiator Wendy Sherman: “We believe the duration of this should be at least double-digits [in years]. And we believe it should be for quite a long time.” Reports indicate that a final deal will restrict Iran’s nuclear program for a period of 10 years, at which point these restrictions will be gradually lifted and Iran will be able to resume expanding its nuclear program. 5 years later, all restrictions will be lifted and Iran will be permitted to expand and develop its nuclear program as it sees fit. Former Iranian nuclear spokesman Hossein Mousavian: “The final agreement, if defined well, can last for three to five years, and then Iranian nuclear issue will be in its routine path.”
Summary: Iran Will Be Able to Expand Its Nuclear Program in 10 Years
ADVANTAGE: IRAN

 

2. Centrifuges: The Size of Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Program and the Speed to Produce Fissile Material


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
Then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “Iran does not need nearly the centrifuge capacity that it has today... As part of a comprehensive solution, we will require that Iran dismantle a significant amount of its nuclear infrastructure related to uranium enrichment.” Iran is expected to maintain operation of 6,500-plus centrifuges under a final agreement—about two-thirds of the 10,000 centrifuges Iran currently operates. This compares to the Administration’s initial position that Iran should only be allowed to operate a few hundred centrifuges. Furthermore, it no longer appears Iran will be required to dismantle any of the total 20,000 IR-1 centrifuges or 1,000 advanced centrifuges it possesses. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei: “On the issue of enrichment, their [the P5+1] goal is to make the Islamic Republic satisfied with 10,000 SWUs [separative work units, the measurement used in enrichment]. But they have begun from 500, 1000. Approximately, 10,000 SWUs are the product of 10,000 centrifuges—the ones that we already have. This is their goal. Officials tell us that we need about 190,000 SWUs [equal to approximately 190,000 centrifuges].”
Summary: Iran Will Retain Industrial-Scale Enrichment Capacity
ADVANTAGE: IRAN

 

3. Arak Heavy Water Reactor: The Plutonium Path to the Bomb


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
President Obama: “They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program.” Iran will likely be allowed to retain its heavy-water reactor at Arak. Initially, the administration demanded the dismantling of the reactor but now it appears Iran will only be required to redesign the reactor to produce less plutonium. Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “Your actions and words show you don't want us to have the Arak heavy water reactor which means you want to deprive us of our rights. But you should know that it is a red line which we will never cross… We want to have more heavy water reactors in future.”
Summary: Iran Will Be Allowed to Retain Its Heavy Water Reactor
ADVANTAGE: IRAN

 

4. Advanced Centrifuges and R&D: Revolutionizing Iran’s Breakout Capacity


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
President Obama: “They don’t need some of the advanced centrifuges that they currently possess in order to have a limited, peaceful nuclear program.” According to reports, work on Iran’s existing advanced centrifuge models would be permitted to continue. If put into operation, these centrifuges would dramatically reduce Iran’s breakout time—to only a matter of weeks, if not days. Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”
Summary: Iran's R&D on Advanced Centrifuges Will Continue
ADVANTAGE: IRAN

 

5. Fordow Enrichment Facility: Iran’s Fortified, Underground Breakout Site


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
President Obama: “Now, in terms of specifics, we know that they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo[w] in order to have a peaceful nuclear program.” Instead of dismantling and closing down the enrichment facility at Fordow—as the Administration initially demanded—it appears Fordow will be re-purposed and might be turned into a research facility. President Rouhani: It is “100 percent” a “red line” for Iran to dismantle any nuclear facilities.
Summary: Iran Will Be Able to Keep Fordow
ADVANTAGE: IRAN

 

6. Ballistic Missile Program: The Delivery Vehicle for an Iranian Bomb


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
Then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program that are included in the United Nations Security Council resolution that is part of explicitly, according to the Joint Plan of Action, the comprehensive resolution negotiation.” The P5+1 apparently no longer seeks to restrict or rollback Iran’s ballistic missile program, despite its suspected purpose of creating a delivery vehicle for a nuclear payload. Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “Defense matters [i.e. Iran’s ballistic missile program] are non-negotiable and are one of our red lines.”
Summary: Iran Will Have No Limitations on Its Ballistic Missile Program
ADVANTAGE: IRAN

 

7. Weaponization Allegations: Iran Stonewalls Investigation into Its Nuclear Weapons Research


USA Current Status in Negotiations Iran
U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Joseph McManus: “Satisfactory resolution of PMD [possible military dimension] issues will be critical to any long-term comprehensive solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.” In a final deal, the P5+1 is expected not to require Iran to admit to the covert work it has done on nuclear weaponization. Instead, a “creative” formula will be found “to satisfy those who want Iran to come clean about any atomic bomb research and those who say this is simply unrealistic.” Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi: “We don't have any more problems with IAEA on the nuclear issue. There are no more questions that we haven't answered. In other words, we can say Iran's nuclear activities is a closed case already.”
Summary: Iran Will Not Have to Come Clean on Its Weaponization Activities
ADVANTAGE: IRAN


Sanctions Relief

The views on sanctions relief between the U.S. and the Iranian government are also highly incongruous. The White House has described the sanctions relief provided in the agreement as “economically insignificant” and insisted that “Iran's economy will also continue to suffer because the core architecture of U.S. sanctions—especially our potent oil, financial and banking sanctions—remains firmly in place.” David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department official tasked with enforcing the U.S. sanctions program declared, “I am confident that the sanctions pressure on Iran will continue to mount. Iran will be even deeper in the hole six months from now, when the deal expires.” In comparison, leading Iranian officials have boasted that with this agreement, the structure of the international sanctions regime is falling apart and that the Iranian economy is progressively improving. Following the January 12 agreement on the implementation of the accord, Rouhani pronounced, “The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken.”

In terms of total estimated value of the sanctions relief provided in the agreement, the White House estimates that Iran stands to receive $6 billion to $7 billion. Iran analysts, however, have anticipated that the true value of the sanctions relief could be more than $20 billion.

Furthermore, the momentum of an ever strengthening international sanctions regime was halted following Rouhani’s election in June 2013 in an apparent effort by the U.S. to court the regime and set a tone for renewed negotiations. The effect of this halt, and even reversal, in momentum was significant as measured by the appreciation of the rial and growth in the Tehran Stock Exchange since June 2013.

While the administration vows that the core architecture of Iran sanctions remains in place, UANI analysis shows that the four interdependent elements of the sanctions regime—(1) Increasingly strict laws and regulations, (2) enforcement action, (3) reputational risk, and; (4) the psychological impact on the Iranian economy—have weakened, and as a result, the architecture of the sanctions regime may in fact be unraveling.

In this section, UANI tracks key indicators of the Iranian economy, to gauge the true value of the sanctions relief being provided.

Value of The Rial

The effect of economic pressure can be measured in large part by tracking the Iranian rial's black market value exchange rate. When economic pressure was at its peak, Iran suffered from severe hyperinflation, and the rial became the least valued currency in the world as it reached record-lows of 40,000 rials/dollar in February 2013. This is no longer the case, as the downward slide of the rial has reversed and the currency has regained significant value.

Inflation

Prior to Rouhani assuming office, Iran suffered under a rampant inflation rate of 42%. Since, Iran has succeeding in dramatically lowering the inflation rate to approximately 15%.

Oil Exports

When the Geneva agreement was signed on November 24, a senior administration official stated that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day” (bpd). This has not been the case as Iran averaged approximately 1.5 million bpd in oil exports in 2014. As a result, Iran has earned approximately $12.12 billion in additional sanctions relief via these above-limit oil exports up to and including February 2015.

Iran’s higher oil exports are due in significant part to an “unintended loophole” in U.S. sanctions law, which failed to include restrictions on Iran’s sale of condensates, “an ultralight oil” that “can be a byproduct of natural gas or oil production.” In the 2014/2015 Iranian calendar year ending March 21, Iran exported an average of about 440,000 bpd of condensates at a value of more than $14 billion. Year-on-year, that’s an increase of 45% in volume. These are historical levels. Prior to robust sanctions, Iran’s condensates exports were 270,000 barrels per day in 2011, which fell to 160,000 barrels in mid-2013.

Non-Oil Trade

In 2014, Iran’s non-oil exports increased 11.9% to $34.78 billion. The top importers of Iranian goods were China ($9.27 billion), Iraq (with $6.10 billion), the UAE ($3.74 billion), Afghanistan ($2.4 billion) and India (with $2.19 billion). Iran’s imports that in 2014 increased 19.5% to $55.5 billion. The top exporters to Iran were the UAE ($13.52 billion), China ($12.57 billion), South Korea ($4.29 billion), India ($4.23 billion), and Turkey ($3.94 billion).

Overall then, Iran’s non-oil trade turnover stood at $90.3 billion in 2014, a 16.4% increase.

GDP Growth

As a result of the significant sanctions relief and the halt in sanctions momentum, Iran's economic fortunes have dramatically turned. Following two consecutive years of GDP contraction in 2012/2013 (-6.6%) and 2013/2014 (-1.9%), the Iranian economy is expected to enjoy GDP growth of 1.5% for 2014/2015 and 2.2% in 2015/2016.

According to Iran’s Central Bank, Iran’s GDP grew by 3.6% in the first 9 months of the 2014/2015 Iranian calendar year.

Auto Sector

The JPA suspended sanctions on Iran’s auto industry, the largest non-oil sector of the Iranian economy, comprising around 10% of the country’s GDP. As a result, this vital sector has rapidly recovered, with auto production in 2014 jumping 47% to 1.09 million vehicles produced. This is following a sustained crash in Iran’s auto production, which more than halved from 1.65 million vehicles produced in 2011 to 744,000 in 2013.

This has been made possible by the return of major international auto companies to Iran, particularly Peugeot and Renault of France.  

Tehran Stock Exchange

Since Rouhani’s election, the Tehran Stock Exchange index has increased by more than 40%, from about 45,000 points to over 65,000 points.

Trade Delegations

Since the signing of the Geneva agreement on November 24, 2013, Iran has been receiving trade delegations from countries that are eager to rekindle commerce with Iran. The pace of these missions and delegations has only increased since the agreement commenced on January 20, 2014. According to The New York Times, “In the first two weeks of [2014], Iran welcomed more delegations from Europe than in all of 2013.” Prominent trade delegationsAustria, France, Italy, and many other countries.

Corporate Comeback

Since the signing of the Geneva agreement, there have been numerous reports and firsthand accounts of Iran's automotive and energy sectors anticipating the return of major multinational corporations. With the momentum of sanctions halted and now reversed, reputational and financial risk has clearly declined for multinational corporations that are publicly pursuing the renewal or expansion of their Iran business.

Iran Business Renewed/Expanded
Engaged in Discussions/Preparations to Expand/Renew Iran Business
Expressed Interest in Expanding/Renewing Iran Business

Austria

OMV AG (Energy)
Austrian Airlines (Airline)
Plasser & Theurer (Transportation Infrastructure)
AVL (Automotive, Engineering)
Doka (Engineering, Construction)
ILF (Engineering)
Doppelmayr (Manufacturing)

Belgium

Tessenderlo Group (Chemical)

China

Zhuhai Zhenrong (Energy)

France

Alcatel-Lucent (Telecommunications)
BNP Paribas (Banking)
Peugeot (Automotive)
Renault (Automotive)
Societe Generale (Banking)
Total SA (Energy)
Alstom (Transportation Infrastructure, Energy)
Credit Agricole (Banking)
Sanofi S.A. (Pharmaceuticals)
GDF Suez SA (Energy)
Safran SA (Aerospace, Aviation, Conglomerate, Defense)
Amundi (Banking)
Orange (Telecommunications)
Lafarge (Construction, Manufacturing)
Nasco Insurance Group of France (Financial Services)

Germany

Bosch (Manufacturing)
Lufthansa (Airline)
Merck KGaA (Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals)

Indonesia

Italy

ENI (Energy)
Pininfarina SpA (Automotive)

Japan

Japan P&I Club (Financial Services, Shipping)

Lebanon

Unifert (Agriculture)

Luxembourg

ArcelorMittal (Steel)

Netherlands/UK

Russia

Gazprom (Energy)
Lukoil (Energy)
Russian Railways (Transportation Infrastructure)

Switzerland

Vitol (Energy)

Turkey

Turkish Airlines (Airline)
Halkbank (Banking)
Gubretas (Agriculture, Chemicals)

UK

BP (Energy)
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (Pharmaceuticals)

Sanctions Enforcement

Sanctions Designations Timer:

0

Days PassedSince Last Treasury Sanctions Designation Action

2013-2015 Iran SDN Sanctions Designations

SDN Designation Announcements

Entities Added

2/6/2013

4

3/14/2013

25

4/11/2013

6

5/9/2013

15

5/15/2013

2

5/16/2013

39

5/23/2013

20

5/30/2013

3

5/31/2013

31

6/4/2013

38

-----ROUHANI ELECTED ON JUNE 14, 2013-----

9/6/2013

10

12/12/2013

19

2/6/2014

20

4/29/2014

11

5/23/2014

1

8/29/2014 34
12/30/2014 9
5/21/2015 12

TOTAL Before Rouhani’s Election

183

TOTAL After Rouhani’s Election

116

TOTAL Designations Since Nov. 24, 2013 Geneva Agreement

106

The Obama administration has pledged to fully enforce all existing sanctions against Iran. David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s point man on sanctions vowed, “The Joint Plan of Action reached in Geneva does not, and will not, interfere with our continued efforts to expose and disrupt those supporting Iran’s nuclear program or seeking to evade our sanctions.”

Evidence indicates, however, that since Rouhani’s election, the U.S. has been much less aggressive in enforcing sanctions. In 2013 before Rouhani’s June 14 election, Treasury issued 10 sanctions announcements which designated 183 entities for violating Iran sanctions. Since Rouhani’s election, there have only been 8 announcements, blacklisting a total of 116 entities.