Iran sanctions may be eased 'next month'

Tuesday 26 November 2013 13.16
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif was cheered on his return to Tehran
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javed Zarif was cheered on his return to Tehran

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said the European Union will probably lift some sanctions on Iran next month in return for Iran limiting uranium enrichment work.

His Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javed Zarif, said his country will move quickly to transform the interim accord with six world powers into a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

The deal reached in Geneva at the weekend has been widely welcomed, but it has been opposed by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on French radio the day after the agreement was reached, Mr Fabius said both parties had to stick to their commitments.

"Vigilance goes in both directions. I mean that Tehran will also be vigilant on us sticking to our commitments," Mr Fabius said.

"For instance, we've committed to ease a certain number of sanctions. It's reversible. You will see when you have the text.

"There is a phrase [in the accord] which is used twice in a row and which is important, and which amounts to 'as long as not everything is solved, nothing is solved'."

Mr Fabius said EU foreign ministers would gather in a few weeks to put forward a proposal to partially lift some sanctions on Iran.

He said: "It's expected in a few weeks. We will have a meeting with [EU] foreign ministers.

"And under the proposition of [Catherine] Ashton, with our support of course, we propose a lifting [of sanctions], but this lifting is limited, targeted and reversible. It's the same on the American side."

Iran and six world powers clinched a deal yesterday morning to limit the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief.

The interim pact between Iran and the US, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia won the critical endorsement of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the interim deal as a "historic mistake", fearing that the lifting of sanctions will make it easier for Iran to pursue a covert nuclear programme.

Israel's top security advisor is expected to travel to Washington to discuss the implications of any potential agreement.

Keywords: iran, nuclear