Russia: Iran deal will stabilize Middle East

Zarif, left, and Mogherini announced the agreement in Vienna on Tuesday. They have been meeting for much of the past year [Xinhua Archive]

Zarif, left, and Mogherini announced the agreement in Vienna on Tuesday. They have been meeting for much of the past year [Xinhua Archive]

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the agreement reached between Iran, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany on Tehran’s nuclear program.

“Russia welcomes the agreement reached today in Vienna on a settlement of the situation concerning Iran’s nuclear programme and the joint comprehensive plan of action approved by the six countries and Iran. We are certain that the world heaved a sigh of relief today,” Putin said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

The agreement announced during a news conference in Vienna attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini stipulates that Iran will freeze its nuclear program for at least 10 years.

During this time, it will reduce its nuclear centrifuges (needed to produce fissile material for an atomic bomb) from 19,000 to 6,000.

The centrifuges would hold no fissile material, however.

Iran would also have to limit the amount of plutonium it produces in its nuclear reactors. The agreement also limits uranium enrichment at 3.67 per cent and limits the stockpile to 300 kg – all measures designed to limit Tehran’s capacity to weapon its nuclear program.

Iran has always maintained that its program is for civilian and peaceful purposes.

“Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons,” Mogherini and Zarif said in a joint statement.

“The Russian negotiating team and nuclear experts have made a significant expert contribution to the drafting of the comprehensive arrangements, which made it possible to align the different, often opposing views,” Putin said of Iran’s nuclear program.

While Iran will be allowed to continue nuclear research, this will be only done at the Natanz site.

The agreement also contains provisions for intrusive international weapons inspections at Iranian nuclear and military sites.

“The [International Atomic Energy Agency] IAEA will carefully monitor the implementation of the agreed steps to prove the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” Putin said on Tuesday.

In return for complying with these provisions, all UN Security Council sanctions in regards to Iran’s nuclear program will be lifted.

Putin also committed Moscow to do everything in its power to ensure the full implementation of the Vienna agreements, and assisting in strengthening global and regional security.

Russia will also work to ensure “global nuclear non-proliferation, the creation in the Middle East of a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, and the mobilisation of a broad coalition in the region to counter terrorist threats,” Putin added.

“Our bilateral relations with Iran will receive a new impetus and will no longer be influenced by external factors,” Putin said referring to UN sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that that the deal put his country at an important juncture in history.

“Iran will honor the agreement, if the other side abides by it,” he said in a televised address.

US President Barack Obama lauded the “historic” deal saying it paved the way for a more hopeful world.

However, both Obama and Rouhani warned that both sides must live up to the promises made in the Vienna agreement.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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