JCPOA Current Affairs - 2019
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The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has unveiled a “state-of-the-art” domestically produced submarine capable of firing cruise missiles. The launch has gained significance due to the skewed relations with the USA.
- The launch was held in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.
- Fateh, which means ‘Conqueror’ in Farsi (Persian language) is Iran’s first submarine in the semi-heavy category.
- It fills a gap between the light Ghadir-class and the heavy Kilo-class submarines that Iran possesses.
- The underwater-vessel weighs nearly 600 tonnes and is equipped with torpedoes and naval mines in addition to cruise missiles.
- The submarine can operate more than 200 metres below sea level for up to 35 days.
- It has subsurface-to-surface missiles with a range of about 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), making it capable in reaching Israel and U.S. military bases in the region.
- The launch is one of the most important projects Iran’s military have undertaken in the last 40 years mostly because of its vertical launching system.
Heightening Global Tensions
Iran has been aggressively launching new weapons in the recent few months. On 2nd February 2019, the day of the 40th Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, they successfully test-fired the Hoveizeh cruise missile, with a range of up to 1,350km. Again on 7th February, they test-fired a new surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) called the Dezful. This aggressive weaponisation by Iran and the withdrawal of the USA from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA on May 8, 2018, is fuelling the global tensions.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (USA, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany), and the European Union.
Under this agreement, Iran agreed to reduce its medium-enriched Uranium stockpile and reduce the number of Uranium centrifuges in the coming 13 years. Iran also agreed to give regular access to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to their nuclear facilities. In return, the economic and nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted by the USA, EU and the United Nations.
Three European Powers U.K., France and Germany are set to announce a plan to help companies trading to Iran to defy the sanctions on Iran.
US sanctions on Iran
US President Trump had unilaterally walked out of the Joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) agreement and reimposed the sanctions on Iran. Under the JCPOA agreement, Iran had agreed to curb its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions that had been imposed by the UN, US and EU.
This unilateral action of US created a lot of resentment and other parties to agreement China, Russia, U.K., France and Germany reiterated their commitment to the deal. The sanctions would bar the companies with a presence in Iran to use the dollar as a medium of exchange.
Iran trade promotion plan
Iran trade promotion plan has been proposed by the U.K., France and Germany as part of their commitment to save the nuclear deal with Iran.
This plan proposes a special purpose vehicle to accept payments from companies that want to trade with Iran, either by receiving waivers for oil imports or permissible trade in goods like food and medicine. With no direct transfer of funds between Iran and European companies, it would theoretically insulate firms from U.S. penalties.
This plan would shield European companies keen to do business with Iran from U.S. sanctions that could result from dollar-based transactions.