"On July 14, 2015, Iran and the six powers that have negotiated with Iran about its nuclear program since 2006 (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) finalized a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, (JCPOA) that attempts to ensure that Iran's nuclear program can be used for purely peaceful purposes, in exchange for a broad suspension of U.S., European Union (EU), and United Nations sanctions. The text of the JCPOA appears to reflect largely what was agreed in an April 2, 2015, framework for a comprehensive agreement. Some issues that were left open in the framework accord were clarified and specified in the JCPOA. The agreement, if it enters into force following review by the U.S. Congress and Iran's political system, will replace a Joint Plan of Action (JPA) interim nuclear accord agreed to in November 2013 and in operation since January 2014. The Administration and the other P5+1 governments assert that the JCPOA represents the most effective of several alternatives to ensure that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon--one of which could conceivably be military action against Iran's nuclear facilities. The Administration also argues that all U.S. options to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon remain available even after the JCPOA expires. The Administration further asserts that the JCPOA contains provisions for U.N. sanctions to be reimposed if Iran is found not in compliance with its requirements, although the Administration and many experts acknowledge it is difficult to predict the degree to which international governments might reimpose their sanctions in the event U.N. sanctions are reimposed."
CRS Report for Congress, R43333