P5+1 countries wrap up first JCPOA joint commission in Vienna

Published October 20th, 2015 - 07:30 GMT

The joint commission established to oversee the implementation of a July agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries has wrapped up its first meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The inaugural meeting, which was convened at the level of political directors in the Austrian capital on Monday, was attended by Iranian deputy foreign ministers Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht-e-Ravanchi as well as representatives from the P5+1 group of countries, which comprises the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany. The session was chaired by European Union Political Director Helga Schmid.

Iran and the P5+1 finalized the text of the nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in Vienna on July 14. Based on the JCPOA, limits will be put on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the lifting of all economic and financial bans against the Islamic Republic.

‘To convene on a quarterly basis’

Reporting on the Monday session, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union’s diplomatic service, said in a statement, “The Joint Commission took stock of the measures taken to date by the participating countries both on nuclear and on sanction[s] related matters to begin the implementation of the JCPOA.”

“All participants expressed their continuing commitment to the swift implementation of the JCPOA. The Joint Commission will continue to monitor developments and will meet at Political directors’ level on a quarterly basis, or earlier if requested, with the next meeting foreseen before implementation day,” it reported.

The Joint Commission “also discussed the Arak Reactor Modernization Project,” the EEAS added. The Islamic Republic is expected to introduce structural changes to the Arak heavy water reactor, which is located in central Iran, and also reduce the number of centrifuges at its nuclear facilities to numbers stipulated in the JCPOA prior to the implementation of the agreement.

Adoption & implementation

Last Thursday, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Ali Akbar Salehi, said those measures would be taken based on a timetable within 45 to 60 days, adding that the JCPOA was accordingly expected to take effect in the final days of 2015.

On Sunday, the United States and the European Union (EU) took legal steps toward the lifting of the sanctions against Iran as part of their commitments under the JCPOA. The day marked the “adoption day” of the agreement.

Once both Iran and the P5+1 have taken the necessary steps to start implementing the JCPOA, the agreement will take force. That day will be the official “implementation day” of the agreement, which is unspecified as of yet.

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