On 15 July 2015, I made a statement to this House on the outcome of the nuclear negotiations with Iran, Official Report, columns 895-896. Almost exactly six months later, I would like to take this opportunity to update the House about reaching implementation day of the joint comprehensive plan of action, or JCPoA.
On 16 January the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has completed all of the steps required of it under annex V of the JCPoA in order to trigger phased sanctions relief. To reach this point Iran has: shipped out over 12 tonnes of enriched uranium to Russia, thus significantly reducing its stockpile to below 300 kg; removed over 13,000 centrifuges and associated infrastructure; and removed and made inoperable the core of the Arak plutonium reactor among other actions, a detailed list of which is included within the IAEA’s report. Implementation gives the IAEA unprecedented access to sites in Iran, so that Iran’s civil nuclear programme will operate transparently.
In return, these measures have triggered the first phase of significant UN, EU and US sanctions relief. This will begin to improve many of Iran’s commercial relations, enabling it to trade with the world and benefit economically. There will be significant opportunities for British businesses and the Government are assisting them in identifying how to benefit from these. Restrictions remain in place to prevent proliferation, and Iran’s ballistic missile programme and arms sales also continue to be sanctioned.
Under the JCPoA, Iran is required to take further steps in order to trigger additional sanctions relief. Only after a further eight years, or when the IAEA reaches its broader conclusion about Iran’s nuclear programme, will the remaining sanctions on Iran be lifted. We will continue to work, with our partners in the joint commission, to ensure that any concerns about the implementation of the deal are appropriately addressed.
Reaching this point is an important step in improving global security. I told the House in July that the threat of an Iranian bomb was removed. Implementation of the JCPoA cements this achievement. I shall continue to inform the House of significant developments on the JCPoA throughout this Parliament.