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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs