Comparing US and Iranian Positions on Nuclear Framework

US-Iran Talks
American and Iranian negotiators face each other across a conference table in Lausanne, Switzerland (State Department).

Iran Matters has compiled comparisons of US and Iranian positions regarding key elements of last week’s framework accord. The comparisons are drawn from the Joint EU/P5+1-Iran statement, the US fact sheet and the Iranian “summary” of the accord, in addition to public statements. Compiled by Henry Rome.


Issue: Sanctions


Joint EU/P5+1 – Iran Statement: “The EU will terminate the implementation of all nuclear-related economic and financial sanctions and the US will cease the application of all nuclear-related secondary economic and financial sanctions, simultaneously with the IAEA-verified implementation by Iran of its key nuclear commitments. A new UN Security Council Resolution will endorse the JCPOA, terminate all previous nuclear-related resolutions and incorporate certain restrictive measures for a mutually agreed period of time.”

US position

Iran position

Fact sheet: “U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps. If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.”

Summary: “After the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action, all of the UN Security Council resolutions will be revoked, and all of the multilateral economic and financial sanctions of the EU and the unilateral ones of the US including financial, banking, insurance, investment, and all related services, including oil, gas, petrochemicals, and automobile industries will be immediately revoked. In addition, nuclear-related sanctions against real and legal individuals, entities, and public and private institutions, including the Central Bank, other financial and banking institutions, SWIFT, shipping and aviation industries of the Islamic Republic of Iran, oil tanker companies, will be immediately removed. Also, the P5+1 member countries are committed to restraining from imposing new nuclear-related sanctions.”


Araqchi: “The use of the word ‘suspension’ in the recent fact sheet by Americans is a mistake and called for our objections. But the fact sheet is not our basis [in the nuclear deal] and the important text is the text of the final agreement.”

Obama: “In return for Iran’s actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions -- our own sanctions, and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.  This relief will be phased as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal.” (Rose Garden statement)


Obama: “The basic framework calls for Iran to take the steps that it needs to around Fordow and the centrifuges and so forth. At that point, then the UN sanctions are suspended.” (New York Times interview)


Kerry: “It’s really a matter of anywhere from probably six months to a year or so that it will take to begin to comply with all of the nuclear steps that need to be taken in order to then begin into the phasing. Those steps have to happen first.”

Rouhani: “On the basis of this framework, all sanctions in financial, economic and banking sectors as well as all (UN Security Council) sanctions resolutions against Iran will be canceled on the very first day of the implementation of the deal, and new cooperation in both nuclear and other sectors will start with the world on the same day.”


Araqchi: “The sanctions are planned to be lifted in the first stage of the final step.”


Issue: Natanz


Joint EU/P5+1 – Iran Statement: “Iran's enrichment capacity, enrichment level and stockpile will be limited for specified durations, and there will be no other enrichment facility than Natanz.”

US position

Iran position

Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will go from having about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only 5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10 years. All 6,104 centrifuges will be IR-1s, Iran’s first-generation centrifuge.  Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years.”


Summary: “The timeframe of the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action regarding Iran’s enrichment program will be 10 years. During this period, more than 5,000 centrifuge machines will continue producing enriched material at the 3.67 percent level at Natanz.”

Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years.”


Kerry: “The stockpile is going to have to be diluted or sold in the international marketplace, and that is agreed upon at this point in time.”

Summary: “Iran will be able to use the existing enriched stockpile for producing a nuclear fuel center and/or its export to international markets in exchange for uranium.”

Fact sheet: “Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years. Iran will engage in limited research and development with its advanced centrifuges.”

Summary: “Iran will continue its research and development on advanced machines and will continue the initiation and completion phases of the research and development process of IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, and IR-8 centrifuges.”

Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.”

Summary: “None of the nuclear facilities or related activities will be stopped, shut down, or suspended, and Iran’s nuclear activities in all of its facilities including Natanz, Fordow, Isfahan, and Arak will continue.”

Fact sheet: “Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for ten years.”


Fact sheet: “All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage and will be used only as replacements for operating centrifuges and equipment.”

Summary: “Additional machines to this number and related infrastructure will be used to replace machines that have been damages during this time and will be collected and stored under the supervision of the IAEA.”

Fact sheet: “Iran’s breakout timeline – the time that it would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon – is currently assessed to be 2 to 3 months. That timeline will be extended to at least one year, for a duration of at least ten years, under this framework.”



Issue: Fordow


Joint EU/P5+1 – Iran Statement: “Fordow will be converted from an enrichment site into a nuclear, physics and technology centre. International collaboration will be encouraged in agreed areas of research. There will not be any fissile material at Fordow.”

US position

Iran position

Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow facility so that it is used for peaceful purposes only – into a nuclear, physics, technology, research center.”

Summary: “The Fordow nuclear facilities will be converted to an advanced nuclear and physics research center.”

Fact sheet: “Almost two-thirds of Fordow’s centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed. The remaining centrifuges will not enrich uranium. All centrifuges and related infrastructure will be placed under IAEA monitoring.”

Summary: “More than 1,000 centrifuge machines and all related infrastructure in Fordow will be preserved and maintained, out of which two centrifuge cascades will be in operation.”


Summary: “In addition, in cooperation with some of the countries of the P5+1, half of the Fordow facilities will be dedicated to advanced nuclear research and the production of stable isotopes that have important applications in industry, agriculture, and medicine.”

Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to not conduct research and development associated with uranium enrichment at Fordow for 15 years.”


Fact sheet: “Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years.”



Issue: Arak


Joint EU/P5+1 – Iran Statement: “An international joint venture will assist Iran in redesigning and rebuilding a modernized Heavy Water Research Reactor in Arak that will not produce weapons grade plutonium. There will be no reprocessing and the spent fuel will be exported.”

US position

Iran position

Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak, based on a design that is agreed to by the P5+1, which will not produce weapons grade plutonium, and which will support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production.”

Summary: “The Arak heavy water research reactor will remain and will be enhanced and updated with re-modifications. In the redesigning of the reactor, in addition to decreasing the amount of plutonium production, the efficiency of the Arak reactor will be increased significantly.”


Summary: “The production of fuel for the Arak reactor and the granting of an international nuclear fuel license are among the issues that will be undertaken with international cooperation.”

Fact sheet: “The original core of the reactor, which would have enabled the production of significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, will be destroyed or removed from the country.”


Fact sheet: “Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the reactor’s lifetime.”


Fact sheet: “Iran has committed indefinitely to not conduct reprocessing or reprocessing research and development on spent nuclear fuel.”


Fact sheet: “Iran will not accumulate heavy water in excess of the needs of the modified Arak reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy water on the international market for 15 years.”

Summary: “The factory for the production of heavy water will continue to function as it has in the past.”

Fact sheet: “Iran will not build any additional heavy water reactors for 15 years.”



Issue: Inspections


Joint EU/P5+1 – Iran Statement: “A set of measures have been agreed to monitor the provisions of the JCPOA including implementation of the modified Code 3.1 and provisional application of the Additional Protocol. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be permitted the use of modern technologies and will have enhanced access through agreed procedures, including to clarify past and present issues.”

US position

Iran position

Fact sheet: “The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including to Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordow, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies.”


Obama: “International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program -- from uranium mills that provide the raw materials, to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program.”


Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol of the IAEA.”

Summary: “Iran will implement the Additional Protocol on a voluntary and temporary basis for the sake of transparency and confidence building, and, in continuation, the approval process of the Protocol will be ratified within a specified timeframe under the mandate of the President and the Islamic Consultative Assembly.”

Fact sheet: “Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake production facility anywhere in the country.”


Fact sheet: “Iran has agreed to implement Modified Code 3.1.”


Fact sheet: “Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program.”


Obama: “If Iran cheats, the world will know it.  If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it.  Iran’s past efforts to weaponize its program will be addressed.  With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world.”



Issue: International cooperation


Joint EU/P5+1 – Iran Statement: “Iran will take part in international cooperation in the field of civilian nuclear energy which can include supply of power and research reactors. Another important area of cooperation will be in the field of nuclear safety and security.”

US position

Iran position

Fact sheet: “A dedicated procurement channel for Iran’s nuclear program will be established to monitor and approve, on a case by case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual use materials and technology – an additional transparency measure.”

Summary: “International nuclear cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, including with members of the P5+1, will be possible and enhanced in the fields of constructing nuclear power plants, research reactors, nuclear fusion, stable isotopes, nuclear safety, nuclear medicine and agriculture, etc… According to the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action, Iran will also be provided access to the global market and the international trade, finance, technical knowledge and energy sectors.”


Henry Rome is a research assistant at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He tweets at @hrome2 and can be reached at