It was another momentous day in the recent history of Iran when the Majlis (Iranian Parliament) approved the nuclear deal to implement which was signed between Iran and world major power on July 14, 2015.
The general outline of the bill on the government’s duties to implement the bill was already passed on October 11, 2015. It was not only the relatively easy passage of the bill in the parliament that surprised many but what was more unbelievable was that it was with equal ease endorsed by the Guardian Council, a watchdog over Iranian Parliament and a conservative body.
It was one the rarest occasion when the Council endorsed the bill in such a short span of time and hailed the bill as one of its spokespersons said that there was nothing un-Islamic or unconstitutional about the bill passed by the assembly. There were lot of apprehensions expressed in the global media and some countries were in deep dilemma about the future of the bill in Iranian assembly.
Guardian Council is the most influential body in Iran and is currently controlled by conservatives. It consists of six theologians appointed by the Supreme Leader and six jurists nominated by the judiciary and approved by parliament. The council has to approve all bills passed by parliament and has the power to veto them if it considers them inconsistent with the constitution and Islamic law.
The bill is now set to become the law in Iran after it has been approved by two prominent constitutional bodies of the country. Under the deal, Iran will curb its nuclear activities in return of the lifting of sanctions imposed against Iran for decades.
After approval of the bill, Iranian Vice President for Parliamentary Affairs, Majid Ansari said that country wants to achieve the result of discussion over the nuclear deal, which is formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plans of Action (JCPOI).
Sanction would be lifted within two months of the implementation of the JCPOI and next week both sides would enter its 90 days of the implementation.
Though the bill has been passed in the parliament with 161 votes in favour, 59 in opposition and 13 members abstained but the session was not devoid of acrimonious situation in the parliament. There were clear divisions among the hardliners, Reformist, conservative and the moderates.
JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a nuclear agreement signed in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union. The agreement is a comprehensive agreement on the nuclear program of Iran.
Under the agreement, Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its centrifuges for at least fifteen years.
Iran will slash by around two-thirds the number of centrifuges from around 19,000 to 6,104.
For the next fifteen years, Iran will only enrich uranium up to 3.67%.
Iran also agreed not to build any new uranium-enriching or heavy-water facilities over the same period. Uranium-enrichment activities will be limited to a single facility using first-generation centrifuges for ten years. Other facilities will be converted to avoid proliferation risks.
To monitor and verify Iran’s compliance with the agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities.
Arak – Heavy water reactor and production plant
Bushehr – Nuclear power station
Gachin – Uranium mine
Isfahan – Uranium conversion plant
Natanz – Uranium enrichment plant
Parchin – Military site
Qom – Uranium enrichment plant
The agreement provides that in return for verifiably abiding by its commitments, Iran will receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related sanctions.
In return, Iran will get sanctions relief although the measures can “snap back” into place if there are any violations. No new UN or EU nuclear-related sanctions or restrictive measures will be imposed.
The UN sanctions against Iran terminate, some EU sanctions terminate and some are suspended, and the U.S. “ceases” application of its nuclear-related sanctions.
This step is not tied to any specific date, but is expected to occur roughly in the first half of 2016. Once sanctions are lifted, Iran will recover approximately $100 billion of its assets (U.S. Treasury Department estimate) frozen in overseas banks.
Sanctions relating to ballistic missile technologies would remain for eight years; similar sanctions on conventional weapon sales to Iran would remain for five years.
Eight years into the agreement, EU sanctions against a number of Iranian companies, individuals and institutions (such as the Revolutionary Guards) will be lifted.
The international arms embargo against Iran will remain for five years but deliveries would be possible with special permission of the U.N. Security Council.
If Iran violates the agreement, an automatic “snap back” provision takes effect, under which the sanctions “snap back” into place (i.e., are re-implemented). Specifically, the JCPOA also establishes the dispute resolution process.
The United Nations Security Council has endorsed this deal. The 15-member body unanimously adopted a resolution that was negotiated as part of the agreement reached in Vienna between Iran and the world’s major powers.
Iran is due to start implementing the deal on October 18 or 19, known as Adoption Day under the terms of the JCPOA. Iranian technicians will decommission thousands of the centrifuges that refine uranium, fill the Arak heavy water reactor with concrete and ship most of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium abroad.
IMPLICATIONS ON INDIA
It is not only the western powers which are looking towards the fate of the bill with high level of anxiety and unrest but the region as a whole and particularly India is equally concerned with it because huge stakes of India is involved in post-nuclear deal Iran.
India has always supported a nuclear free Iran and it would like to see an early removal of the sanction against Iran because it would invigorate the Indian economy and would open the new vista to enter into a series of trade agreement with Iran which India has been deprived of for a long time.
The removal of sanctions would impel the oil production in Iran and is likely to bring down the oil prices easing the burden on India’s exchequer. It is not economic aspect which would see a transformation in the wake of removal of sanction but it has its strategic implication too given the fast changing scenario in the region and an instable Iran of any level or nature would not be in strategic favour of India.