January 11, 2016 / 11:28 AM / 2 years ago

EU's Mogherini: no set date for dropping Iran sanctions, could be soon

2 Min Read

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels December 17, 2015.Eric Vidal

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The European Union has no firm timeframe for lifting sanctions on Iran and the move could come soon, the bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday.

"There is no set date yet. The date is going to be related to the full implementation of all the steps that need to be taken," she said at a news conference after meeting Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek.

"I can tell you that my expectation is that this day could come rather soon. The implementation of the agreements is proceeding well."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on state television on Monday as he inaugurated new gas projects: "We are hopeful that the sanctions against Iran would be lifted in the next few days."

Lifting the sanctions would clear the way for an influx of cash to reinvigorate Iran's out-dated oil and gas industry.

"Iran has met its commitments under the July nuclear agreement earlier than expected," Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesperson for Iran's atomic energy agency, said in an interview the Iranian Etemad newspaper published on Monday.

"Implementation of JCPOA will finish in the next 7 days," he added, referring to the deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iran struck the deal with world powers last year that imposed curbs on its nuclear program in return for easing sanctions that have badly hurt its oil exports and development of its oil and gas fields.

Reporting by Robert Muller and Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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