Iran Nuclear Deal: JCPOA, Challenges, Outcomes, Objectives

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Iran Nuclear Deal was formally known as JCPOA, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed to slow down Iran’s Nuclear Programme. It is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear Program between Iran and the five permanent members (P5) of the United Nations Security and one more country, i.e., the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and Germany.

Iran Nuclear Deal has been constantly in the news because of the frigid relationship between the U.S. and Iran. Thus, Iran Nuclear Deal UPSC is an essential topic for the IAS Exam. Below you will learn about the JCPOA objectives, agreement, outcomes, its impact on India, challenges to restoring the Iran Nuclear Deal, and its latest news.

What is Iran Nuclear Deal?

When it comes to generating nuclear weapons, Iran can produce a lot of nuclear weapons within months, which can be a dangerous signal to the rest of the world. For this concern, Iran and P5+1 had a prolonged negotiation from 2013 to 2015, which resulted in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, now known as the Iran Nuclear Deal).

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran agreed to cut off its stores for the critical components of nuclear weapons, i.e., heavy water, enriched uranium, and centrifuges. Not only this, the country was admitted to executing a particular protocol. According to this protocol, the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can inspect the access of Iran’s Nuclear sites so that it would not be able to develop nuclear weapons secretly.

The U.S. lifted the sanctions on Oil exports, but it continued to restrict financial transactions with Iran. And, the sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear proliferation were lifted by the West. But just like the U.S., it did not list the other sanctions addressing the alleged human rights abuses.

Along with this, Iran’s ballistic missile program remained the same.

Download Short Notes on Iran Nuclear Deal

JCPOA- Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Overview

The fundamental overview of JCPOA or Iran Nuclear Deal is as follows-



JCPOA Full form

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

Iran Nuclear DealSigned on

14 July 2015

JCPOA members

P5+1 (the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and Germany)

Iran Nuclear Deal Latest news

In January 2020, a drone strike took place on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander General. After this incident, Iran announced it would no longer observe the Iran Nuclear Deal’s restraints. It has resulted in the agreement’s collapse between Iran and countries like North Korea, resulting in geopolitical instability in the region and beyond.

Objectives of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran is a potent Nuclear weapon-producing country accused of supporting terrorism and human resource abuse. So, the P5+1 intended to unwind Iran’s nuclear program by agreeing that if Iran decides to develop nuclear weapons, it must take at least a year so that the other countries get enough time to respond to the situation.

For this purpose, they came up with JCPOA under which the signing countries will lift specific sanctions from Iran and grant relief to it so that Iran’s economy will not be hampered and it would generate enough revenue. This Goal was inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which keeps an eye on storing radioactive enriched Uranium and other critical components required to develop Nuclear weapons.

JCPOA Agreement

JCPOA Agreement was adopted by Iran and P5+1 countries, which includes the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and Germany. The critical details of the JCPOA agreement are as under

Iran Nuclear Deal Agreements accepted by Iran.

As per the JCPOA Agreements, Iran has accepted the following-

  • Iran agreed not to produce the critical components of the nuclear weapon, i.e., plutonium or highly enriched Uranium.
  • Iran agreed that its facilities at Arak, Natanz, and Fordow would only be used for industrial research, medical development, power generation, and other civilian works.
  • The inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency can come to inspect the unrestricted access to its nuclear facilities on undeclared sites.
  • Representatives of all the negotiating parties formed a body called the Joint Commission. The commission was set up to check the agreement’s implementation; if any dispute arises, it holds the power to resolve it.

Iran Nuclear Deal Agreements accepted by P5+1 countries and others

As per the JCPOA Agreements, P5+1 and other countries have agreed to lift the Sanctions. These are as follows-

  • The United States, UN, and the European countries have committed to lifting the sanctions on Iran except for a few of the sanctions by the US from 1979.
  • Iran’s support for human rights abuse, terror groups, and ballistic missiles program were the primary reasons for placing the sanctions on Iran.
  • The adopting countries lifted sanctions on a Weapons embargo after IAEA (United Nations) confirmed that only civilian nuclear activities are taking place in Iran.

Outcomes of the Iran Nuclear Deal

The JCPOA had a smooth start. In 2016, International Atomic Energy Agency declared that Iran had completed its initial pledges. In response to Iran’s action, the European Union, The United Nations, and the United States lifted the sanctions on Iran. In addition to this, Obama dropped the secondary sanction Oil on Iran, after which Iran Iran was allowed to increase its oil export. As a result, Iran received 100$ billion worth of Iranian assets from European Union and the United States.

Perhaps, the deal nearly collapsed after President Trump withdrew the deal in response to Iran’s ballistic missiles program and its proxy welfare. So naturally, this became a matter of concern for Iran. As a result, Iran accused the US of withdrawing its commitments. So, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany came forward in support of Iran to keep the agreement alive. In addition, they launched a batter system called INSTEX to aid the transactions of Iran outside the US banking system.

But, Iran responded aggressively and began to generate enriched Uranium at its facilities in 2019.

In November 2020, a law was passed in Iran’s Parliament that significantly boosted the enrichment of Uranium. Later in 2021, Iran refused the IAEA inspection.

US Withdrawal from JCPOA

Obama faced a hostile Republican Senate during US Iran Nuclear Deal. As a result, he was unable to ratify the nuclear deal. Still, the deal was implemented based on Periodic executive orders.

In May 2018, Donald Trump became American president. Soon after, he called JCPOA a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never been made. So, he withdrew the deal. Because of this, economic tension arose in Iran as the US pushed its unilateral sanctions.

After the US withdrawal, E-3 (the UK, Germany, and France) and the European Union (EU) promised to find a way to mitigate the US’s decision for the first’s year but failed. Along with this, the E-3 promised to establish relied upon Instrument to support the Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). It was successfully created in 2019. But in May 2019, anticipated economic relief from the E-3/EU failed to materialize. As a result to which, Iran opted for the Maximum Resistance Strategy.

JCPOA Impact on India

Iran Nuclear Deal has impacted India in terms of energy security, and it has boosted regional connectivity as it. The Iran Nuclear Deal’s Impact on India can be briefed as-

  • If the sanctions on Iran are removed, it may help revive India’s interest in the Bandar Abbas port, Chabahar port, and other plans for regional connectivity.
  • JCPOA might help India neutralize China’s presence in Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
  • This would also help generate India’s interest in INSTC (International North-South Transit Corridor).
  • India has to reduce oil imports to zero because of the pressure linked to US’ CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
  • After restoring ties between Iran and the US, India will get aid in energy security. It will also help India to procure Iranian oil at lower prices.

Current Dynamics of Iran Nuclear Deal

The current Dynamics of JCPOA are as follows-

  • The USA is ready to re-engage in meaningful diplomacy on Iran’s issue.
  • It intends to readopt the deal. But, it insists that Iran has to comply fully with the agreement in return for that deal.

Iran has had an informal meeting with the US and the European Union. Iran has insisted that the US must undo the sanctions applied to it. Along with this, Iran is opposing the inspections by IAEA (Because IAEA has released a report that Iran has been involved in producing enriched Uranium by crossing the limit). Iran has taken this step so that the US and other parties can lift the sanctions on the banking, oil, and financial sectors.

Challenges to the Restoration of JCPOA

JCPOA, or Iran Nuclear Deal, was an attempt to reduce Iran’s Nuclear Programme. However, there are a few challenges to restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. These are-

  • There has been a regional cold war between Iran and Saudi Arabia for a long time. This war has been a significant complication to the restoration of JCPOA.
  • US’s Middle East policy has strengthened the relations between Saudi Arabia and the US, which has to counter its relation with Iran.
  • There is difficulty in negotiating peace in Iran and Saudi Arabia because of the rising issue of the traditional Sunni vs Shia conflict.
  • Iran has violated many of its prime commitments, like increasing the limited stockpiles of enriched radioactive Uranium, because of which the deal is becoming more challenging.
  • Because of the Trump administration’s pullout, Iran has blamed US sanctions for its ongoing financial losses.

Iran Nuclear Deal UPSC

Iran Nuclear Deal UPSC is a chief topic for IAS Exam as it has been constantly in the news for the ups and downs with the agreement. Moreover, it holds equal importance in UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains Exam. So, it is essential to have a detailed understanding of the topic. You can learn about JCPOA and all the related topics through the UPSC Study Material. In addition, you can get the latest updates about the agreement by checking the Current Affairs section.

Iran Nuclear Deal- JCPOA UPSC Questions

A few of the previous year’s JCPOA UPSC Questions are as follows-

Question – The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is commonly referred to as?

  1. Paris Climate Agreement
  2. Earth Summit
  3. Iran Nuclear Deal
  4. Kyoto Protocol

Answer – C

Question – Consider the following statement concerning The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

  1. It curtailed Iran’s uranium enrichment program and opened Iran’s nuclear facilities to international inspection.
  2. It is a deal negotiated between Iraq and the P5+1 Countries in 2015.
  3. Following the withdrawal of the USA from the JCPOA deal, France had also recently withdrawn from the agreement.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None

Answer – B

Iran Nuclear Deal [JCPOA] UPSC PDF

JCPOA has become a matter of concern for the world and thus is a prime topic for IAS Exam. So, it is essential to understand the topic thoroughly and learn about its latest updates.

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