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What is 'P5+1'

The P5+1 is a group of world powers who have been negotiating with Iran since 2006 with the goal of limiting Iran's capacity to manufacture a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from certain economic sanctions and the ability to pursue a civilian nuclear energy program. The P5+1 is composed of the five permanent members, or P5, of the UN Security Council, which include the U.S., China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom. Germany is considered the +1.


P5+1 was initiated to discuss a growing problem. In 2002 an Iranian dissident publicly revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began investigating these facilities in 2003, and the EU-3, made up of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, began negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program. Later that year the IAEA's investigation found that Iran had systematically failed to meet its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty's safeguards agreements.

In June 2006, China, the U.S. and Russia joined the EU-3 to form the P5+1. The following month, the UN passed the first in a series of resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran regarding its nuclear program. The U.S. has levied unilateral sanctions since the 1979 revolution, including 2011 sanctions for human rights abuses; not all U.S. sanctions are related to the country's nuclear program.

In November 2013, the P5+1 and Iran reached an interim agreement.

In April 2015, the P5+1, the EU and Iran announced the preliminary outlines of a comprehensive agreement that permits Iran to pursue the peaceful enrichment of uranium for the purpose of generating electricity. It limits the purity to which uranium can be enriched, the number of active centrifuges Iran can operate and the uranium stockpiles Iran can keep; it requires that the Arak heavy-water facility be modified to produce non-weapons grade plutonium and that the Fordow facility be converted into a research center; it allows the IAEA to inspect all non-military nuclear facilities, uranium mines and supply chains. These clauses would apply for a limited number of years, after which Iran would be treated like any other non-nuclear weapon state signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In exchange, the U.S., UN and EU would lift nuclear-weapons related sanctions once the IAEA verifies Iran's compliance.


On May 12, 2018 the United States are expected to make a decision about whether or not to remain part of the P5+1 group. The president is requesting stronger sanctions on Tehran in order to remain part of the group. The Iranian government’s spokesman Mohammad Nobakht stated that Iran is ready if the U.S. scraps the signed nuclear agreement.

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