In a major breakthrough that will end the 12-year long nuclear standoff between Tehran and the West, Iran and the so-called P5+1 – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – have finally reached a landmark nuclear deal in Vienna, after prolonged negotiations over last 20 months.
The deal comes after US Secretary of State and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif strenuously engaged in intense nonstop talks in Vienna for last 17 days.
According to initial inputs, the deal says that Iran will curb its nuclear activities for over a decade in exchange of sanctions relief
The talks were being prolonged as Iran was earlier demanding a sudden removal of all sanctions.
Last month, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has raised concern over the “unacceptable” demands being posed by the West, calling them as “red lines”.
“Freezing Iran’s Research and Development (R&D) for a long time like 10 or 12 years is not acceptable.. Lifting sanctions must match Iran’s commitments,” Khamenei had said.
However, the deal was signed on Tuesday as final impediments were cleared, a news agency said citing a Western diplomat.
“All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people,” one diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. A second Iranian official confirmed the agreement.
US State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf tweeted that foreign ministers of the sextet (P5+1) will hold a “final plenary” meeting at 08:30 GMT, followed by a news conference during which Iran`s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and EU`s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini are expected to read a joint statement, diplomats said.
According to the Reuters, which has managed to reveal some details of the deal, the UN-imposed arms embargo against Iran is to remain in force for five years, while the restrictions on rocket technology exchange are to be kept for eight years.
Also, the sanctions might be re-imposed within 65 days if Iran does not abide by the deal, says the Reuters.
The deal does not give the UN inspectors free access to Iranian military sites. Only if the UN inspectors doubt about any suspicious activity, then they can manage to get access by putting up a request for inspection which will then be considered by a committee, reports said. Also, Iran could challenge requests for access, the Associated Press quoted a diplomat.
No sooner did the reports of Iran nuke deal being sealed splashed the media than an Israeli Cabinet minister lambasted the accord as a “license to kill”.
In her Facebook post, Israeli culture minister Miri Regev (also former IDF spokesperson), said that the mere fact that Iran was celebrating was a proof enough that it was a bad deal.
Both the West and Iran had yesterday dropped broad hints that Iran was very close to the deal. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a tweet called the upcoming deal as a “good beginning”.