Iran deal makes Mid-East safer: US

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The US secretary of state has said the deal reached on Sunday over Iran’s nuclear programme will make Israel and the Middle East a safer place.

 

John Kerry was speaking after Iran agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for about $7bn (£4.3bn) in sanctions relief, reports BBC.

 

Israel, however, has described the agreement as a “historic mistake”.

 

Iran’s president said its right to uranium enrichment had been recognised, but Mr Kerry denied this.

 

Tehran has, however, agreed to stop all enrichment above 5%.

 

World powers suspect Iran’s nuclear programme is secretly aiming at developing a nuclear bomb – a charge Iran has consistently denied.

 

The deal reached overnight in Geneva will last for six months, while a permanent agreement is sought.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal, saying it would “help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon”.

 

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said it “demonstrates how persistent diplomacy and tough sanctions can together help us to advance our national interest”.

‘Larger breathing space’

 

Mr Kerry told ABC’s This Week programme that the US and Israel shared the same goal, and that the deal was a first step in making sure Iran could not have nuclear weapons.

 

“It leads us into the negotiation so that we guarantee that … while we are negotiating for the tougher provisions, they will not grow the programme and their capacity to threaten Israel,” he said.

 

“Israel will actually gain a larger breathing space in terms of the breakout capacity [to make a nuclear weapon] of Iran.”

 

The US secretary of state added that he hoped Congress would recognise the benefits of the deal and refrain from passing new sanctions.

 

However, leading Republican Senator Bob Corker said he had concerns about the deal and promised to hold the administration’s “feet to the fire”.

 

“This administration is long on announcements but very short on follow-through,” he said in an interview for Fox News Sunday.

 

Senator Charles Schumer, from President Obama’s Democratic party, was also disappointed by the Geneva agreement, which he said favoured Iran.

 

“As for additional sanctions, this disproportionality of this agreement makes it more likely that Democrats and Republicans will join together and pass additional sanctions when we return in December,” he said in a statement.

 

“We cannot and will not allow a regime that calls for the destruction of Israel to obtain the means to achieve this goal.

 

“Israel has many friends and allies, but when they’re mistaken, its my duty to speak out.”

 

The Israeli comments came as it was revealed that the US and Iran had held a series of face-to-face talks in recent months that paved the way for the agreement but were kept secret even from their allies.

 

The talks were personally authorised by President Obama, AP reports quoting senior US administration officials.

 

In a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, President Rouhani repeated that his country would never seek a nuclear weapon.

 

He hailed the deal, saying it met one of Iran’s fundamental principles.

 

“No matter what interpretations are given, Iran’s right to enrichment has been recognised,” he said.

 

Tehran insists it must be allowed to enrich uranium to use in power stations.

 

The deal comes just months after Iran elected Mr Rouhani – regarded as a relative moderate – as its new president, succeeding the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

 

It has also been backed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in nuclear matters.

 

After four days of negotiations, representatives of the so-called P5+1 group of nations – the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany – reached the agreement with Iran in the early hours of Sunday.

Source: UNBConnect

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