• Switzerland's news in English

Timeline: Iran's 12-year nuclear standoff

AFP · 31 Mar 2015, 15:44

Published: 31 Mar 2015 15:44 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Here is a summary of the main developments in the Iran nuclear crisis since 2002:

2002-2004: Undeclared nuclear sites

After nuclear sites are uncovered in Natanz and Arak in central Iran in August 2002, Tehran agrees to undergo an inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The UN watchdog reveals that traces of enriched uranium have been identified.
On October 21st 2003, following an unprecedented visit by foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany, Iran suspends uranium enrichment activities but later vows it will never renounce its nuclear programme.

 2005-2008: Enrichment to 3.5 percent
On August 8, 2005, after the election of hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Tehran resumes uranium enrichment. European nations break off negotiations.
In January 2006, the UN Security Council's five permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — agree to have the IAEA present the issue to the full council.

They are defied by Iran, which on April 11th says that it has enriched uranium to 3.5 percent purity. It then rejects an offer from the permanent UN members plus Germany, dubbed P5+1, on a framework for talks.
On December 23rd 2006 the UN imposes the first of several rounds of sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology. It is followed by the United States and European Union.
Negotiations come to a standstill. On November 7th 2007 Iran says it has at least 3,000 centrifuges for enrichment, which in theory would allow it to produce enough enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb in less than a year. Today it has nearly 20,000, of which half are active.

 2009-2012: Enrichment to 20 percent
In 2009, following the November election of US President Barack Obama, world powers offer to resume negotiations with Tehran, which later declares major advances in its nuclear drive as Ahmadinejad opens a uranium conversion facility on April 9th in Isfahan.
Then, on September 25th, Western nations reveal the existence of a previously undeclared enrichment site inside a mountain in Fordo.
On February 9th 2010, after the breakdown of talks on enriching uranium in a third country, Iran says it has begun to enrich uranium to 20 percent at Natanz, close to the level required for a nuclear weapon.
With Israel threatening a preventive strike, the IAEA on November 8th 2011 points to a possible military dimension to Iran's nuclear activities.
On January 9th 2012, the IAEA says that Iran has started to enrich to 20 percent at Fordo.
On January 23rd 2012, the EU agrees to slap an embargo on Iranian oil exports and freezes the assets of Iran's central bank.
Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 resume in April after being stopped for 15 months.

 2013: Preliminary accord

On August 6th newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says Tehran is ready for "serious" negotiations.
On September 27th Rouhani reveals he and Obama have spoken by telephone in the highest-level contact between the two countries since 1979.
On November 24th after intense negotiations Iran agrees to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief in an interim deal which comes into force on January 20th.

 2014: Extended negotiations

Story continues below…

On February 18th, negotiations start on a permanent accord, but despite intense diplomatic efforts fail and deadlines are extended twice.
The interim accord is extended. Iran says on August 27th it has started to modify the design its Arak heavy water reactor and limit plutonium output.

 2015: Towards a permanent accord?

Negotiations restart in January with a deadline of a political accord by March 31st.

The framework deal, if it can be hammered out, is meant to be finalized with comprehensive technical annexes by June 30th.
In the United States, Republicans take control of the Congress and threaten Iran with preventative sanctions, which Obama vows to veto.
On March 3rd, Israel steps up its campaign against a "dangerous" deal with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasting the accord in a controversial speech to Congress.
On March 26th, top US diplomat John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meet in Lausanne at the start of a flurry of talks for the outlines of a political accord.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available