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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid