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24 Nov, 2013 08:26

Pres. Rouhani: Deal with P5+1 'recognized Iran's nuclear rights'

Pres. Rouhani: Deal with P5+1 'recognized Iran's nuclear rights'

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that the deal reached in Geneva shows that world powers have recognized Tehran's “nuclear rights.” He added that Iran is eager to start talks immediately on a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

He said in a statement in the Iranian capital broadcast live on state Press TV that talks on a "comprehensive agreement will start immediately" and that Iran had a strong will for them to commence right away.

The Iranian president said that the success of the talks with the P5+1 group was due to the guidelines set out by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. 

Khamenei said that the prayers of the Iranian nation had helped ensure the success of the negotiations, and said that the initial Geneva nuclear deal would provide the basis for further steps toward a lasting deal.

"This can be the basis for further intelligent actions. Without a doubt the grace of God and the prayers of the Iranian nation were a factor in this success," Khamenei wrote in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani published by the IRNA state news agency.

After the deal was signed, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi wrote on Twitter that Iran’s enrichment rights had been recognized in the negotiations. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov confirmed the news, acknowledging that the deal accepted Tehran’s right to enrich uranium. 

“This deal means that we agree with the need to recognize Iran's right to peaceful nuclear energy, including the right for enrichment, with an understanding that those questions about the [Iranian nuclear program] that still remain, and the program itself, will be placed under the strictest IAEA control,” Lavrov told journalists.

Considering the “whole body of circumstance,” Lavrov said, “there are no losers [in the Geneva deal], all sides are winners.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) reacts next to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (C) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a plenary session on early November 24, 2013 in Geneva. (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

Lavrov said that, in his opinion, the deal makes it possible for the US and European participants of the P5+1 group to ease up the pressure of sanctions on Iran, starting with lifting unilateral sanctions without awaiting for decisions from the UN Security Council.

“We never recognized unilateral sanctions on Iran anyway,” Lavrov said.

But US Secretary of State John Kerry, who signed the deal with Iran for the Obama administration, put a different interpretation on the issue, telling the media that the agreement did not recognize Tehran’s right to enrich nuclear fuel. 

“The first step, let me be clear, does not say that Iran has a right to enrich uranium,” Kerry said.

However, in an apparent attempt to deflect criticism from Tel Aviv and the Israel lobby in the US, he said that the deal with Iran would “make Israel safer.” 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu said on Sunday the interim nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers was a historic mistake

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AFP Photo / Ariel Schalit)

"What was achieved last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it was a historic mistake," Netanyahu told his cabinet in public remarks. "Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world's most dangerous weapon." 

US President Barack Obama welcomed the nuclear deal with Iran. 

In a statement from the White House, Obama said the agreement had “halted” and “rolled back” Iran’s nuclear program to ensure it remains peaceful.

“While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal,” Obama said. “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

US President Barack Obama makes a statement from the State Dining Room of the White House November 23, 2013 in Washington after an agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear program was reached in Geneva. (AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski)

He said that the possibility of an agreement had opened up after the US and the UN imposed “unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.”

The agreement had finally been signed primarily due to America’s “intensive diplomacy” directly with Iran and P5+1 group countries, he said. 

Obama added that the most important sanctions against Iran would stay in place, and said that the concessions given to Tehran could easily be retracted.

One of the major revelations that emerged after the deal was clinched was that the US had been holding direct consultations with Iran in the run-up to the Geneva meeting.

An unidentified US senior official told Reuters that Washington has had at least three “limited bilateral discussions with the Iranians” in recent months, “in addition to the P5+1 negotiations.” The names of the American and Iranian sherpas have not been made public, nor have the exact dates of their meetings, which reportedly took place once a month – in September, October and November.

The official said the consultations were “aimed at developing ideas that we could provide in the P5+1 negotiations,” and that they had proved to be helpful.

The source said that Washington had always been “crystal clear that the P5+1 is the venue for negotiations” and that America’s close Middle East ally, Israel, was kept informed of the talks with Tehran.