France: EU could start easing Iran sanctions in December

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, delivers a statement during a ceremony at the United Nations in Geneva on Sunday. Iran struck a historic deal with the United States and five other world powers, agreeing to a temporary freeze of its nuclear program in the most significant agreement between Washington and Tehran after more than three decades of estrangement. Photo: AP  

The European Union could begin easing sanctions on Iran in December, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio on Monday, after world powers reached a deal with Tehran to curb its nuclear programme.

EU foreign ministers would meet in “a few weeks” to discuss a “limited, targeted and reversible” lifting of the sanctions, he said.

The deal — reached on Sunday in Geneva between Iran on one side and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany on the other — marks a turning point in Iran’s relations with the West, 10 years after Tehran’s secret nuclear activities came to light.

The sanctions to be eased are related to petrochemicals, Iran’s car industry, precious metals and oil revenue. The suspension would give Iran about 7 billion dollars worth of relief, according to the White House.

In return, Iran committed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 per cent, dilute or convert uranium enriched to higher levels to prevent its use in nuclear weapons, halt construction at a plutonium-producing reactor at Arak and refrain from the installation of any new centrifuges.

The agreement is to last six months, during which time, international negotiators are to try to reach a lasting deal.

The deal has been welcomed in Iran as offering relief from the sanctions and years of diplomatic isolation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has condemned the deal as a “historic mistake.”

Mr. Fabius urged all sides to exercise caution. “Nothing is resolved until everything is resolved,” he said, calling the agreement “only a first step.” While he said he could “understand” Israel’s concerns, he disagreed with Netanyahu’s view that the agreement had “made the world a much more dangerous place.” “We are working to ensure that security in all countries in the region, including Israel, is improved” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 10:53:08 AM |

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