Monday, 20 September 2021
Up-to-the-minute perspectives on defence, security and peace
issues from and for policy makers and opinion leaders.

     |      View our Twitter page at     |     


Luke Rawlingsimage1 12To update previous timelines from the U K Defence Forum, two fact sheets were prepared in September, 2019 by Luke Rawlings. This one covers the period May 2015-16. The same overview is presented for both papers because of this.

For the timeline 1967- 2010 see U K Defence Forum paper FS62 (updated) by various authors

For 2011- May 2014 see U K Defence Forum paper FS71 by Elayne Jude, Senior Research Associate which covers both missiles and nuclear materials

Throughout 2014, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 held constructive and extensive talks about their intentions to create a nuclear deal with Iran. In exchange for this agreement, Iran would "rewarded" by the lifting of crippling sanctions enforced on the state for many years.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – agreed in 2015 – was upheld by Iran from the signatory date, and was thereafter continually monitored and verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Following Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States, the ever-present tensions between the U.S. and Iran reignited once more. Iran's pursuit of a ballistic missile programme, and accusations from the U.S. that the state is supporting terrorist organisations, were amongst the many reasons for strain between the two nations.

On the 8th May, 2018, President Trump announced America's withdrawal from the JCPOA, bringing the stability of the nuclear deal into question.

Since the withdrawal of the United States, sanctions by America have been re-imposed upon the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite all other nations remaining committed to the nuclear deal.

Consequently, Iran says it won't abide by particular sections of the JCPOA agreement, notably the stockpiling of enriched uranium.

The JCPOA deal was at a crossroads at the time of writing, whereby Iran has demanded that all members of the deal uphold to their commitments to it. In turn, Iran will comply with the restrictions to their nuclear programme, as outlined in the deal.
Key events since our previous paper are on the next page


May 11:
President Rouhani argues that if Iran were attempting to conduct 'secret activities', they wouldn't be attempting to buy centrifuges at global markets. He reinforces that Iran 'will not retreat from its peaceful nuclear activities'.

May 22:
The Islamic Republic of Iran state that if the P5+1 have goodwill and 'ignore backstage lobbies', an agreement can be made by the end of July.

May 23:

Confirmation from the IAEA that Iran has implemented the seven practical measures outlined by the Framework for Cooperation. Moreover, a further five agreed measures are to be implemented by Iran in the next step by 25 August.

June 20:
Report by Director General of the IAEA outlines Iran's continued commitment and upholding of measures in relation to the Joint Plan of Action.

July 24:
The IAEA receive a letter from China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (the E3/EU+3) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) informing the Agency of the extension of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA)1 until 24 November 2014.

August 11:
Talks between the UN Security Council + Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran continue to allow for 'constructive interaction' between states. However, Iran reinforce that they will not back down from their national rights.

August 21:
President Rouhani restates the determination to find a deal with the G5+1, as a deal would benefit both the region, and the world.

August 30:
Iran will continue to resist 'illegal' American sanctions.

September 5:
The IAEA report that Iran has implemented three of the five practical measures that were meant to be met by the deadline of the 25th of August. However, Iran has stayed faithful to the commitments and measures in the Framework for Cooperation.

September 26:
The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran meets with the German Foreign Minister to ensure that Berlin will do best it can to resolve the Iran-G5+1 nuclear dispute.

November 7:
Despite holding technical meetings with the IAEA, Iran is yet to provide explanations that enable the organisation to clarify outstanding practical measures, as well as proposed next steps for the Framework for Cooperation.

November 24:
President Rouhani reiterates Iran's continued efforts to achieve a final comprehensive agreement, they will not allow for sanctions to prevent them.

November 28:
The G5+1 and Iran submit an extension of the Joint Plan of Action to the IAEA until 30 June, 2015.

December 19:
Confirmation of the extension of the JPA to 30 June, 2015 and Iran's continued commitment to the agreed terms of the agreement thus far.


January 13:
President visits Bushehr nuclear power plant as a 'symbol of defiance', as Iran's peaceful uses of atomic energy shall not be stopped.

February 19:
Foreign Minister of Iran, HE Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with Director General of Iran to discuss the importance of continued dialogue and the resolution of outstanding issues relating to Iran's nuclear programme.

February 26:
President Hassan Rouhani states that if nuclear talks are to be successful, the US must take the required steps, such as removing sanctions.

March 20-April 2:
Formal negotiations for a framework to construct a nuclear-deal were held from March 26 to April 2, 2015 in Lausanne Switzerland.

Negotiations were conducted by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the P5+1 (the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China - plus Germany) and the European Union.

March 20:
IAEA status update on Iran's nuclear program.

April 2nd:
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 concluded with an agreement on a framework deal between all eight parties.

The agreement on a framework announced at a press conference by Federica Mogherini (High Representative of the Union of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) and Mohammad Javad Zarif (Minister of Foreign Affairs for Iran).

"Today, we have taken a decisive step: we have reached solutions on key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," with the intended date of completion for this framework set for June 30th, 2015."

The EU's European External Action Service published a document outlining the framework deal, titled Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Switzerland.

The U.S. Department of State also published a document titled Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program.
Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program, U.S. Department of State (April 2, 2015),

May 29:
Report highlighting further discussions on the continuation of implementation of the Framework for Cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.

June 24:
The Iranian President for the Islamic Republic of Iran assures that, despite nuclear talks, will stick to the red lines, including "preserving (the country's) independence".

July 14:
Based on the April framework agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the 'Iran Nuclear deal', was officially reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran, the P5+1 and the EU in Vienna.

Notable JCPOA Details:
Any activities involving uranium-enrichment is limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for 10 years.
Iran agreed to completely remove its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, as well as reducing its low-enriched uranium by 98%.
Gas centrifuges eliminated by around two-thirds for a duration of 13 years.
For the next 15 years, uranium can only be enriched to a maximum of 3.67%.

No new heavy-water facilities to be built for a duration of 15 years.
Other facilities to be converted to avoid any risks of proliferation.

In order to maintain a transparent and compliant process, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is allowed regular access to all nuclear facilities within Iran.
Agreement to abide by Modified Code 3.1. This requires countries to submit design information for new nuclear facilities to the IAEA as soon as the decision is made to construct, or authorise construction, of the facility. Consequently allows the IAEA sufficient time to respond to the expansion of any nuclear program and to adjust safeguards.
Implementation of enhanced modern technologies (such as tamper-proof seals, surveillance cameras etc.) to assist inspections and monitoring of Iranian nuclear-program.

In return for abiding by these agreements, the U.S., EU and United Nations Security Council offered relief to Iran in regards to nuclear-related sanctions.
The EU claimed to terminate all nuclear-related economic sanctions.
The UN Security Council sought to enforce a resolution which removes all nuclear related sanctions. In return, restrictive measures will be incorporated for a mutually beneficial period of time.
The U.S. will remove all secondary economic and financial nuclear-related sanctions.

July 14:
The IAEA and the Islamic Republic of Iran sign the 'Road-map' agreement, for clarifying past and present issues regarding Iran's nuclear program.

July 15:
Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei expresses his highest regard to the nuclear negotiations team.

July 18:
President Rouhani praises the signing of the JCPOA as a "success for Islamic Iran's great nation".

July 20:
The JCPOA officially codified under the United Nations Security Council resolution 2231 whereby it "requests the Director General of the IAEA to undertake the necessary verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related commitments".

Report published in relation to the status of Iran's nuclear program and the "voluntary measures" enforced following the signing of the JCPOA.

July 25:
Iranian President holds a meeting to discuss the effects of UN Security Council's removal of economic sanctions, as well as coordination mechanisms for economic relations between other states.

July 29:
President Rouhani urges all countries involved to "safeguard the agreement" as it can help constitute the base for future relations.

August 19
Iran reiterate that their peaceful nuclear activities "will never be stopped".

August 25:
Iran succeed in gaining the right to controlled uranium enrichment through UN resolutions.

August 27:
NPT safeguards implemented within Iran as a means of verifying and monitoring Iranian commitment to nuclear-related agreements.

September 20:
IAEA praised by Iran in their ability to bring global trust and calmness surrounding the nuclear agreement.

September 21:
Report on the steps taken by Iran since 20 January, 2014, in order to meet the conditions of the JCPOA agreement.

September 27:
President of Iran and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, meet to discuss the importance of the JCPOA agreement in assisting with stability in the region, as well as cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

October 17:
The "Iranian Governments Reciprocal and Proportion Action" is announced in form of a guideline to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Atomic Energy Organisation, with respect to meeting the guidelines of the JCPOA.

December 2:
IAEA final year assessment concludes that the agency has found "no credible indication of nuclear material in connection with the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program".

Moreover, all activities contained in the Road-map were "implemented in accordance with the agreed schedule".

December 31:
President Rouhani orders Minister of Defence to boost Iran's defensive capabilities and increase missile production due to the continuation of hostile U.S. policies.


January 16:
IAEA and the Islamic Republic of Iran officially announce that Iran had completed the necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation of the JCPOA.

'Implementation Day' thus allows for the verification and monitoring process, as requested by the United Nations, to be resumed in order to fulfil the framework of the JCPOA and for sanctions against Iran to begin being removed.

January 17:
President Rouhani announces to the Iranian people that the JCPOA has concluded, so it is now time for the nation to "construct, reconstruct and flourish".

January 18:
Meeting between IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano and Vice-President and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran Dr Ali Akbar Salehi, two days following Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, to ensure "smooth collaboration".

February 3:
Iranian President announces that the country has successfully passed "JCPOA 1" and that all countries should seize the opportunity to progress to "JCPOA 2".

March 7:
In light of Security Council resolution 2231, Iran invited by IAEA Director General to "participate in the full range of Agency activities, including technical meetings, conferences, training courses and workshops".

May 5:
Further talks held regarding the process of implementation between Director General Yukiya Amano and Vice-President and Chairman of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) Dr Ali Akbar Salehi.

May 27:
Following talks between the IAEA and AEOI at the beginning of May, an updated report on the verification and monitoring of Iran's nuclear-program was released.

June 6:
Introductory Statement by Director General to IAEA confirms that, under the Additional Protocol to Iran's Safeguards Agreement (which allows the IAEA greater access to Iranian nuclear facilities), "complementary" access was made and the "activities are consistent with the Agency's standard safeguard practices".

July 29:
Iran accuses the IAEA of leaking a document in regards to Iran's initial declaration of its Additional Protocol - an accusation which the IAEA rejects.

August 14:
Iranian President shares optimism about the JCPOA, as economic growth has grown 4.4% in 3 months, but remains pessimistic about U.S. actions.

September 22:
President Rouhani addresses the 71st UN General Assembly and scolds the U.S. for their lack of compliance with the JCPOA.

September 25:
American pressure on banks for dealing with Iran destabilises the JCPOA.

November 8:
Donald J. Trump elected President of the United States.

November 17:
Iran's inventory of heavy water exceeds 130 tonnes. Under the IAEA, the excess water is transferred out of the country and it is stressed that "such situations should be avoided in the future in order to maintain international confidence in the implementation of the JCPOA".

December 1:
U.S. Congress passes a 10-year extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA).

December 4:
Iran warns against U.S. violations against the JCPOA agreement.

December 13:
Iran announce they will begin researching and developing nuclear propulsion for marine vessels in response to U.S. commitment to the ISA.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Defence Viewpoints website. However, if you would like to, you can modify your browser so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it or you can refuse cookies altogether. You can also delete cookies that have already been set. You may wish to visit which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers. Please note that you will lose some features and functionality on this website if you choose to disable cookies. For example, you may not be able to link into our Twitter feed, which gives up to the minute perspectives on defence and security matters.