Iran and six major powers have achieved an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program. “We have agreed to an action plan” announced Catherine Ashton, the head of European diplomacy in Geneva, flanked by the foreign ministers of Iran, the U.S., China, Russia, UK, France and Germany.
Handshakes between them before the press put an end to four long days of meetings. Ashton, who has not given details on the contents of the agreement, recalled that it is the first step, but the ultimate goal is to reach a definitive understanding in the next six months. The results of the talks involve the freezing of Iran’s nuclear program during this time in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
“It is very significant for the development of our relations forward,” said Ashton, who has coordinated the negotiations with Iran on behalf of the six major powers. Satisfaction was evident among all participants.
According to U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, Iran has agreed to suspend “all enrichment (of uranium) above 5%” and has ensured that it “will not increase its reserves of 3.5%” in the next six months. As for the 200 kilos of uranium enriched to 20%, those will be eliminated at this time.
To verify compliance with these points the group decided to implement control mechanisms deemed as “unprecedented” to keep the Iranian nuclear program in check.
In exchange for these “significant” concessions, Iran will see current economic sanctions eased but “in a limited and reversible,” way said Kerry. One of the key elements is that Iran will repatriate 4,200 million from exports of oil which are now blocked in foreign banks. Iran may also get an additional $ 1,500 million from exports of petrochemicals and automotive products, thanks to the partial easing of sanctions.
The U.S. Secretary of State emphasized that sanctions will continue to have a strong effect on the Iranian economy, which will lose between $ 25,000,000 during these six months.
Meanwhile, Iran’s chief negotiator and Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif, announced in a press conference that a joint committee will be charged with verifying the implementation of the agreement. “It’s going in the right direction,” he noted, before remembering that this is a “first step” and that all people involved must help consolidate the result.
The Iranian right to enrich uranium
One example of the delicate way in which the draft text has been written, the agreement allows the Iranian government to declare its right to enrich uranium for domestic consumption. President Hasan Rohani has said in a press conference that “the main achievement is that the right to enrich uranium by the Iranian people has been recognized by the nations involved in the negotiation. This has been explicitly stipulated by this agreement. The enrichment continues as in the past. ”
Meanwhile, Kerry asserted that this provision had not been included in the text: “It does not mean that (Iran) has the right to enrich uranium. Despite the comments made about it, this is not in the document.”.
Iran’s insistence about it from the beginning has run into opposition from the U.S. and much of the negotiating has been to seek a mutually satisfactory language.
Zarif has insisted that Iran has not give up its right to enrich uranium. “We believe the agreement, the action plan has two different sides in a very clear fact that Iran’s enrichment program will continue and this must be referenced in any agreement, now in the future.”
According to the head of U.S. diplomacy, Iran’s nuclear program, strictly for peaceful purposes “shall be subject to further negotiations and mutual agreements, and only then we will see if the enrichment can be done.”
The Key points of the Agreement
The agreement reached in the early hours of Sunday provides for a freeze of Iran’s nuclear program for six months in exchange for relief of economic sanctions that stifle the Persian country. These are the main points of the agreement:
1. Iran accepts enriching uranium only by 5%, a distant threshold necessary for military use.
2. Tehran is also committed to neutralizing the stock of enriched uranium to 20%, making ways that impede the processing for military purposes.
3. The Islamic Republic waives the installation of new centrifuges and the advancement of construction of the heavy water reactor at Arak, which would provide, once in operation, the ability to produce plutonium suitable for military use .
4. In exchange for these concessions, the other negotiators – USA, France, UK, China and Russia plus Germany – agree to release and relax sanctions on Iranian funds in the amount of $7 billion.
Israel says agreement is a historic error
As it was expected Israel’s reaction was not favorable. Almost everyone else, however, did agree that progress has been made. “The vote of the people in favor of moderation and constructive engagement, and the tireless efforts of negotiators will open new horizons,” wrote Iranian president Rohani on his Twitter account.
It was his electoral victory last June what opened the door to a change of attitude toward Iranian officials who interrupted negotiations since the summer of 2002 when the regime’s secret nuclear program was uncovered.
The U.S. president, Barack Obama, extolled the path of dialogue that he has defended during his five years in office despite facing the hardest demands from Republicans. “Today diplomacy has opened a new path towards a more secure world,” Obama said from the White House.
However, the Israeli government has expressed disappointment. “It is a historic agreement but a historical error. Today the world has become a much more dangerous place,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the beginning of the meeting with his cabinet.
“It’s a bad deal that gives Iran exactly what it wanted: a partial lifting of sanctions while maintaining an essential part of its nuclear program,” said a statement hours before he met with his cabinet.
Foreign Minister Avigor Lieberman, said that Iran “has received an award” in their negotiations with the group of six, and that the result of the agreement reached in Geneva is an “arms race”. “Clearly, the agreement recognizes the right of Iranians to continue enriching uranium. The Israeli Minister of Industry, Naftali Bennet, went further: “If in five years a nuclear suitcase explodes in New York or Madrid, it will be the result of the agreement signed today.”
Note: American Homeland Security: Take note of this threat issued by Minister Bennet. If in five years a nuclear suitcase explodes in New York, please do look into whether Israel had a hand on it.
“The tentative agreement buys time for further progress. The clock slows down and gives an opportunity to build confidence,” said Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
It’s been four long days of intense negotiations that have tested both the will to negotiate by the new Iranian government and the willingness to make concessions by the United States
Washington and Tehran had not had relations for three decades and, if successful, more detailed negotiations will begin now. The commitment today could be the first step toward standardization, experts say.
“It is the beginning, not the end of the process”, said Tita Parsi, the president of the Irano American National Council (NIAC), in a statement celebrating the agreement. “There are many obstacles and potential saboteurs. Hawks in both countries will work harder than ever to thwart this advancement in diplomacy. “