News / Europe

Fabius: EU Likely to Ease Iran Sanctions

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) gestures as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (4thL) pose with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (5thL) next to the Iranian delegation after a statement on Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) gestures as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (4thL) pose with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (5thL) next to the Iranian delegation after a statement on Nov. 24, 2013 in Geneva.
VOA News
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the European Union could lift some sanctions against Iran next month, but that any easing will be "limited, targeted and reversible."

Fabius's comments came on Monday, a day after Iran agreed with the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany on a deal to limit its enrichment activity and allow more inspections in exchange for some sanctions relief.

Key Points of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Iran has committed to:
  • Halt enrichment above 5%
  • Neutralize its stockpile of near-20% uranium
  • Stop progress on enrichment capacity
  • Not commission or fuel the Arak reactor
  • Provide daily access to IAEA inspectors at Natanz and Fordo

World powers have committed to:
  • Not impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months
  • Suspend some sanctions
  • License safety-related repairs for certain Iranian airlines
  • Allow purchases of Iranian oil to remain at current levels and allow $4.2 billion from those sales to be transferred to Iran

Source: The White House
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday that his government will start implementing the steps it agreed to in the coming weeks, perhaps before the end of the year, but that all of the requirements cannot be fulfilled in one day.

Zarif also stressed the tenuous nature of the agreement, reached after months of talks between the two sides.

"All the measures that we will take, the confidence-building measures, are reversible, and they can be reversed fast. Of course, we hope we do not have to do this," said Zarif.

Diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, are looking ahead to negotiations to come up with a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program, which the parties want in place within a year.

"Now, the really hard part begins, and that is the effort to get the comprehensive agreement which will require enormous steps in terms of verification, transparency and accountability. We know this, we have determined to work together, we will start today, literally, to continue the efforts out of Geneva and to press forward," said Kerry.

The text of Sunday's interim agreement includes sections outlining goals for a comprehensive deal. The steps include defining Iran's enrichment program "with practical limits," and ways to make its peaceful nature transparent. The agreement would also include the lifting of all U.N. sanctions, as well as those imposed by individual nations or smaller groups of nations.

The interim deal lasts for six months and calls for Iran to neutralize its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent -- a level that is a short step away from weapons-grade. It does not prohibit Iran from continuing enrichment below the five percent level.

The agreement also calls for Iran not to make further advances in building a heavy water nuclear reactor in the city of Arak. Once operational, that facility could produce plutonium, another compound that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

In return for limiting enrichment, the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany agreed to temporarily lift some international sanctions that have weakened the Iranian economy.

The United States said Tehran will gain access to $4.2 billion in revenues from Iranian oil exports and $1.5 billion in proceeds from Iranian sales of precious metals, automobiles and petrochemicals.

Iranian leaders characterized the interim deal as a recognition of the country's nuclear rights and the beginning of an end to international sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address Sunday that the deal recognizes what Iran claims is its right to enrich uranium.

Iran says its enrichment work is for peaceful purposes, but Israel and Western powers fear Iran could enrich its uranium to the high purity needed to develop nuclear weapons.

Kerry denied Iran's interpretation, saying the text "does not say Iran has a right to enrichment."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the deal, calling it a "historic mistake" and saying it marks the first time the international community has "formally consented" to Iran continuing enrichment.

White House officials say President Barack Obama telephoned Netanyahu Sunday, telling the Israeli prime minister that he wants the United States and Israel to start consultations immediately on efforts to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Iran.

Obama also told Netanyahu that the U.S. remains firmly committed to Israel, which he noted has good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions.

Israeli leaders see a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence because of Iran's frequent calls for Israel's demise.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid