Iran nuclear deal: A temporary freeze and some sanctions eased

Iran agreed to freeze its nuclear program for six months and the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany agreed to ease some economic sanctions.

(AP Photo / Keystone, Martial Trezzini)
Switzerland's Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, left, shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, prior to talks about Iran's nuclear programme in Geneva, Switzerland, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. An agreement was reached early Sunday.

A deal has been reached between six world powers and Iran that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief, the French and Iranian foreign ministers said early Sunday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, "Yes, we have a deal," as he walked past reporters crowding the hotel lobby where marathon negotiations had taken place over the past five days.

Asked if there was a deal, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "Yes" and gave a thumbs-up sign.

The goal had been to hammer out an agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear program for six months, while offering the Iranians limited relief from crippling economic sanctions. If the interim deal holds, the parties will negotiate final-stage agreements to ensure Iran does not build nuclear weapons.

The White House announced that President Barack Obama would make a statement on the agreement shortly.

The deal came after the personal intervention by Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers whose presence had raised hopes for a breakthrough.

Diplomats refused to spell out details of the talks, which dragged on past midnight. As the meetings continued into Sunday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi described the talks as being in "their 11th hour," with most issues resolved but an agreement still elusive.

Consensus came after nearly a decade of inconclusive international efforts to halt Iran's expanding nuclear program. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes and not aimed at building nuclear weapons.

The agreement built on the momentum of the historic dialogue opened during September's annual U.N. gathering, which included a 15-minute phone conversation between Obama and Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, after three decades of U.S.-Iranian estrangement.

For the U.S. and its five partners, the chief concern is uranium enrichment, which can be used to power nuclear reactors as well as serve as the fissile core of warheads.

The six — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — were seeking to halt expansion of Iran's enrichment program, including an end to enriching to a level that can be turned into warhead material within weeks.

They were also looking to increase outside oversight of Tehran's nuclear activities and find a way to ease concerns about a reactor that will produce plutonium when finished. Like enriched uranium, plutonium can arm warheads.

In return, the six powers were offering gradual and limited sanctions relief over six months, depending on Iran's compliance. Core sanctions on oil exports and financial transactions — the most severe penalties — are to be kept in place until a final deal is achieved that permanently reduces proliferation dangers from Iran's nuclear activities.

___

Associated Press writers John Heilprin and Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Robert Reid in Berlin contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Iran nuclear deal: A temporary freeze and some sanctions eased
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/2013/1123/Iran-nuclear-deal-A-temporary-freeze-and-some-sanctions-eased
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe