November 25, 2013 / 4:39 PM / 6 years ago

EU says could relax Iran sanctions from December

PARIS (Reuters) - The European Union could relax some sanctions on Iran as soon as next month, French and EU officials said on Monday after major powers reached a landmark deal with Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

EU foreign ministers will meet in December to discuss a proposal from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to ease sanctions, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

“We are proposing a lifting of the sanctions, but it will be limited, targeted and reversible,” Fabius told Europe 1 radio. Asked when sanctions could start to be lifted, he added: “It will begin in December.”

Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann said that the timing would be coordinated with Iran since it was up to both sides to keep their bargain and it was not yet clear when decisions could be taken to change sanctions legislation.

“It could be in December, it could be in January, it depends how long the legislative process takes,” Mann told reporters in Brussels.

The breakthrough deal reached on Sunday between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia offer’s Tehran limited relief from international sanctions in exchange for halting its most sensitive nuclear work.

The West fears that Iran has been seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability. The Islamic Republic denies that, saying its nuclear program is a peaceful energy project.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Additional reporting by Adrian Croft in Brussels; editing by Mark John

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