Iranian Nuclear Programme


This project sought to identify components and approaches to support an effective agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme over the medium-long term with three strands: 

  1. Verification and Monitoring Under the JCPOA
  2. Energy Futures for Iran
  3. Paths forward

This project ran from Autumn 2020 – Spring 2021.

Verification and Monitoring under the JCPOA

VERTIC and ELN conducted research on the JCPOA’s verification and monitoring provisions, the principles behind these provisions, and the lessons learned from their implementation.

Report: Ten Lessons on the Iran Nuclear Deal’s Verification and Monitoring Regime

Until recently, the verification and monitoring provisions included in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have been implemented as designed. While Iran took operational steps that placed it outside the bounds of what is considered full implementation of the JCPOA, these changes continue to be communicated to the IAEA in advance and the Agency has been able to observe the activity. However, if the JCPOA is terminated altogether, the days of prevailing transparency, as well as cooperation and communication, may be numbered. This policy brief, co-produced by the ELN and VERTIC, outlines ten technical and political lessons relating to the sustainability of the JCPOA, currently at risk and starkly illustrated by the course of events over the past three years. In the immediate timeframe, the paper highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the JCPOA that need to be understood in order to preserve it or to respond effectively to its collapse. In the longer term, these lessons should inform the architecture of future deals with Iran.

Iranian Energy Futures

This work sought to assess Iranian energy needs and how these relate to Iranian demands under past negotiations. VERTIC prepared three Iranian nuclear energy scenarios that were compiled with consideration of expanding Iranian energy requirements, geopolitical considerations, available nuclear power units, proliferation resistance and logistical feasibility. A online-only workshop was held in early 2021 with regional experts and energy experts to assess the prepared Iranian energy futures scenarios and the assumptions used to build them.   

Paths Forward

This work sought to take lessons from the review of JCPOA monitoring provisions and Iranian energy futures and feed these into a discussion about the medium to long term future of a nuclear agreement with Iran. A review workshop was held for this strand in early 2021.  

Project Partners

This project was conducted in a consortium with the European Leadership Network.


This project was generously supported by the UK Government Counter Proliferation and Arms Control Centre.