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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More