Iran says nuclear deal to be implemented in late January

DUBAI Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:50pm EST

A voter holds a flag outside the Iranian consulate in central London June 14, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

A voter holds a flag outside the Iranian consulate in central London June 14, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

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DUBAI (Reuters) - World powers and Iran have agreed to start implementing in late January an agreement obliging Tehran to suspend its most sensitive nuclear work, an Iranian official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

There was no immediate confirmation of the agreement from the six powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - or the European Union, which oversees contacts with Iran on behalf of the six.

The reported agreement follows nearly 23 hours of talks between nuclear experts from Iran and the six powers held in Geneva on Monday and Tuesday.

The seven countries have met several times since striking the breakthrough accord on November 24 to iron out practical details and decide when the deal would be implemented.

An Iranian nuclear negotiator, Hamid Baeidinejad, said a date was agreed on Tuesday.

"Based on the conclusions the talks held with ...expert delegations, the implementation of the Geneva accord will start in the third ten-day of January," Baeidinejad was quoted as saying by Iranian Press TV.

"The two sides managed to reach an understanding on the implementation of the agreement and now, their views and interpretations are the same," he said.

The EU and British and U.S. governments indicated, however, work remains to be done on how to implement the November accord.

Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said the experts would report back to their capitals and contacts would continue to "finalize a common understanding of implementation".

He declined comment on Iran's assertion that there was an agreement on the timetable for implementing the accord.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said progress was made in the talks and the sides "expect to finalize the implementation plan soon."

A senior U.S. administration official said an agreement was close.

REMAINING ISSUES

In London, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said good progress had been made in the latest talks in Geneva, but some issues remained to be resolved. "Our aim is to bring the agreement into force as soon as possible," she said.

Western diplomats have said in the past that January 20 was a possible implementation date, because that is when EU foreign ministers next meet in Brussels and could agree on the lifting of EU sanctions.

Western countries led by the United States fear that Iran's nuclear work has military goals and have imposed years of sanctions on Iran in an effort to force Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

Iran denies seeking to build an atomic bomb and says its nuclear work is aimed at power generation and medical research.

Under the November 24 agreement, Iran will suspend its most sensitive uranium enrichment efforts and, in return, Western governments will ease some economic sanctions.

The sequence of these moves appeared to be a sticking point in the expert talks, with divisions focusing on how much prior notice Iran will give Western governments that it is meeting its end of the deal before they lift the agreed sanctions.

Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, was quoted saying earlier that he was likely to meet Helga Schmid, Ashton's deputy, to further discuss some issues next week.

The technical talks started on December 9 but Iran broke them off briefly after the United States blacklisted an additional 19 Iranian companies and individuals under its existing sanctions.

Iranian officials said the move violated the spirit of the deal but U.S. officials said it did not breach the agreement.

(Reporting by Marcus George and Parisa Hafezi; Additional reporting by Justyna Pawlak and Adrian Croft in Brussels, Andrew Osborn in London, Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (3)
StephanLarose wrote:
Meanwhile, racist apartheid nuclear pariah state Israel HAS 400 illegal nuclear weapons and refuses to participate in making the Middle East a nuclear-weapons free zone. They have explicitly stated in public that they are willing to strike Iran with nukes pre-emptively on the basis of nothing more than suspicions. Israel is causing every other country in the region to desire a deterrent against Israeli and U.S. nukes and military aggression. Iran has issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons and our own intelligence agencies tell us they stopped work in 2003, but if Israel continues its belligerence in the region, why wouldn’t Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Egypt want a nuke of their own? Israel is the true threat to world peace and the real nuclear pariah state. Boycott and Sanction Israel.

Dec 31, 2013 5:28am EST  --  Report as abuse
Aryanpour wrote:
At the end of the day the final deal will be done, otherwise 65% enrichment for submarines and ships will be implemented immediately without any fear from Israel or others’ threat .

Dec 31, 2013 7:07am EST  --  Report as abuse
RMax304823 wrote:
This tentative agreement will be greeted with cries of “Lies!” and “Treachery” from many of us. It’s axiomatic that since Iran is “the sworn enemy” of the United States, everything they say is a lie. And they’re being helped by the Muslim sympathizers in the White House and in Congress.

Of all the necessary mistakes the human mind makes, oversimplification is the most important. It happens all the time, as it must, because otherwise the world we live in would be too complicated for us to understand.

If you ask people which city is farther west, Los Angeles or Bakersfield, you generally get the wrong answer (LA). The mind takes the irregular contours of California and turns it into an upright rectangle.

That’s okay. Who cares? But when we do the same number on politics or geopolitics the results can be dysfunctional and even tragic. People are not simply divided into pure “good” (us) and pure “evil” (those we dislike).

Iran is hurting from those sanctions. And the young folk are as tired of the Mullahs’ reign as we would be of some religious fanatic’s. Moreover, the sanctions punish Iran and any nation that buys its oil — and they NEED to sell that oil because they have no refineries to process it themselves. It’s also one of the chief reasons they want civilian nuclear energy.

Rouhani is a new leader, not the old moron who denied the holocaust and whose rigged election a few years ago led to riots in the streets.

Let’s keep our mind open and our guard up and see what happens. Can we finally give Peace a chance?

Dec 31, 2013 3:42pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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