The P5+1 is a group of six world powers which, in 2006, joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran with regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to the P5 or five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany. The P5+1 is often referred to as the E3+3 (or E3/EU+3) by European countries, which is also the nomenclature used in the text of agreements with Iran.
In June 2006, China, Russia, and the United States joined the three EU-3 countries, which had been negotiating with Iran since 2003, to offer another proposal for comprehensive negotiations with Iran.
Up to then, the UN Security Council has adopted six resolutions in response to the Iranian nuclear program. The first resolution #1696 was adopted in July 2006, which demanded that Iran halt its uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
The next three years saw the adoption of three more resolutions, #1737 in December 2006, #1747 in March of 2007, and #1803 in March 2008, which have imposed gradual sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities believed to be involved in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.
UN Security Council Resolution #1835, adopted in September 2008, restated the Security Council’s demands made in resolution #1696 of 2006, but without imposing additional sanctions.
The last Security Council resolution, #1929, adopted in June 2010, saw the expansion of more sanctions on Iran for its lack of cooperation and its continued uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
Role of Germany
Germany is the key trading partner of Iran. Iran's nuclear program depends mainly upon German products and services. For example, the thousands of centrifuges used to enrich the uranium are controlled by Siemens "Simatic WinCC Step7" software. Around 50 German firms have their own branch offices in Iran, and more than 12,000 firms have their own trade representatives in Iran. Several well-known German companies are involved in major Iranian infrastructure projects, especially in the petrochemical sector, like Linde, BASF, Lurgi, Krupp, Siemens, ZF Friedrichshafen, Mercedes, Volkswagen and MAN (2008).
In 2005, Germany had the largest share of Iran's export market with $5.67 billion (14.4%). In 2008, German exports to Iran increased by 8.9 percent and comprised 84.7 percent of the total German–Iranian trade volume. The overall bilateral trade volume until the end of September 2008 stood at 3.23 billion euros, compared to 2.98 billion euros the previous year. The value of trade between Tehran and Berlin increased from around 4.3 billion euro in 2009 to nearly 4.7 billion euro in 2010.
The Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce has estimated that economic sanctions against Iran may cost more than 10,000 German jobs and have a negative impact on the economic growth of Germany. Sanctions would especially hurt medium-sized German companies, which depend heavily on trade with Iran. There has been a shift in German business ties with Iran from long-term business to short-term and from large to mid-sized companies which have fewer business interests in the US and thus are less prone to U.S. political pressure.
2013 interim agreement
A round of the talks between Iran and the P5+1, chaired by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, was held in the Kazakh city of Almaty on 26–27 February 2013. The two sides agreed to meet again in the city on April 5–6 to continue the talks after holding expert-level talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul on 17–18 March 2013.
In a further meeting of the P5+1 in Geneva on 16 October 2013, Iran stated that it may allow unannounced visits to its nuclear sites as a "last step" in a proposal to resolve differences with the West. Lowering uranium enrichment levels could also be part of a final deal, according to an Iranian official.
On 24 November 2013, an interim agreement was reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran in Geneva, Switzerland. It is expected to lead to a six-month freeze and partial rollback of portions of Iran's nuclear program in exchange for decreased economic sanctions on Iran, as the countries work towards a long-term agreement. It represents the first formal agreement between the United States and Iran in 34 years.
2014 negotiations on a comprehensive agreement
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and the lead negotiator with Iran, Wendy Sherman, told a Senate hearing that Iran's ballistic missile program would be addressed as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal. On 10 February 2014, Iran's defense minister said they successfully test-fired two new domestically made missiles. The next day, Iran laid out "red lines" related to its ballistic missile program, atomic sites and uranium enrichment ahead of talks of the next step in nuclear talks, which resumed in Vienna on February 18. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, also a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator, said "defense-related issues are a red line for Iran" and that Tehran "will not allow such issues to be discussed in future talks."
Senior officials of the P5+1 and Iran met on 18–20 February 2014 in Vienna and agreed on a framework for future negotiations. The P5+1 and Iran are preparing to have monthly meetings to try and forge a final, comprehensive deal. The next round of monthly senior-level meetings is scheduled to 17–20 March 2014 in Vienna.
Former Israeli UN Ambassador Dore Gold claimed that the comprehensive agreement being negotiated between Iran and the P5+1 focused on increased transparency instead of a reduction in nuclear capability. Former U.S. State Department official and advisor on Iran's nuclear program Robert Einhorn said such an agreement would need to both increase transparency and lengthen Iran's timeline for nuclear breakout capability.
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