International concerns about Iran’s nuclear program date back decades, though it was not until 2006 that the first United Nations (UN) sanctions were imposed on Tehran. This followed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) official declaration that Iran was not meeting its obligations as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1970. By that time Iran had also resumed its uranium enrichment program, which had been halted in 2003.
While Iran had already been subject to a range of non-nuclear US sanctions, the subsequent international sanctions regime was progressively augmented though a variety of US, European Union (EU) and UN instruments to become the most comprehensive the world had ever seen. This also reflected a growing unity on the Iran nuclear issue among key international players, particularly on the part of the UN Security Council (UNSC) permanent members.
This quick guide provides an outline of:
• the basic parameters of the deal
• key issues of contention
• major stakeholders’ positions and
• an overview of Australian interests and policy