Vienna: Iran and six major powers have reached a historic nuclear deal, which will grant Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme, an Iranian diplomat said on Tuesday. “All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people,” the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Another Iranian official confirmed the agreement. While access is a key part of monitoring envisaged cuts on Tehran’s present nuclear activities, it is also important for the IAEA as it tries to kick-start nearly a decade of stalled attempts to probe allegations that Iran worked on nuclear arms. Washington says that Iran must cooperate with the IAEA’s probe as part of any overall deal before all sanctions on it are lifted.
The Iranians insist they have never worked on weapons and have turned down IAEA requests to visit sites where the agency suspects such work was going on, including Parchin, the military complex near Tehran where the agency believes explosives testing linked to setting off a nuclear charge was conducted.
Iran’s acceptance in principle of access to military sites will give the agency extra authority in its attempts to go to the site and its demands — previously rejected by Tehran — to interview scientists it suspects were involved in the alleged nuclear weapons work.
Any deal will go to the U.N. Security Council, which is expected to endorse by the end of the month, to start the mechanics of implementation — long-term, verifiable limits on Iranian nuclear programs that could be used to make weapons in exchange for an end to sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The deal also must address Iran’s call that an arms embargo on it be lifted or at least modified — and U.S. opposition to the demand. Washington wants to maintain the ban on importing and exporting weapons, concerned that an Iran flush with cash from the nuclear deal would expand its military assistance for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and other forces opposing America’s Mideast allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.