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Six months after agreement was reach on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the P5+1 have reached agreement on moving to the next phase of timetable contained within the agreement. Saturday 16 January marked ‘implementation day’, the point at which the nuclear-related sanctions put in place in against Iranian entities will start to be unwound. Sanctions relief forms an essential part of the deal reached between Iran and the P5+1 last July.
Yet how smoothly the process unfolds will determine, to a large extent, whether the agreement succeeds. Real or perceived violations of the JCPOA by Iran are likely to slow the process. At the same time, if sanctions relief is not forthcoming or does not bring economic benefits to Iran, the chance of Iranian non-compliance will increase. Though the level of compliance in the first few months of the JCPOA has been encouraging, the deal as a whole remains fragile. Governments should therefore work diligently to pre-empt potential complications.
Here, RUSI experts dissect the implementation of the Plan of Action, and pitfalls ahead:
By Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi and Timothy Stafford
The Iran deal remains at the mercy of a volatile and unpredictable political climate, both in Tehran and Washington. This could well overwhelm it in the coming year.
By Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi
To make the deal successful, intensive co-ordination between domestic actors in Iran will be required to implement these highly technical processes.
By Emil Dall, Andrea Berger and Tom Keatinge
Over the last decade, the US and EU have constructed a complex network of sanctions in response to Iran’s nuclear programme, ensuring the near-total isolation of Iran from global markets. On ‘implementation day’, this network starts to be disassembled and reintegration begin.
The signatories to the Iran nuclear deal should move to entrench processes that will enable the agreement to outlast the individuals that put it in place. By this time next year, a new US president will have been sworn in, and presidential elections in Iran will only be just months away. Time must be used wisely.
Ali Ansari and Gary Samore Discuss the Iran Deal
Professor Ali Ansari, RUSI Senior Associate Fellow discusses the latest developments with former US nuclear negotiator Dr Gary Samore