Nuclear Accord Would Bring Enormous Benefits

Nuclear Accord Would Bring Enormous  Benefits
Nuclear Accord Would Bring Enormous  Benefits

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said a final deal on Tehran's nuclear program would offer great benefits to the world.    

Hammond made the remarks on Tuesday in his statement to the House of Commons on Iran's nuclear talks, according to GOV.UK, the United Kingdom public sector information website.

Iran and the six major powers (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) failed to meet a November 24 target date to work out a long-term settlement to the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear work and extended an interim agreement they reached in Geneva last year and their talks on a final deal for seven more months until June 30, 2015.  

Hammond said, "The negotiations with Iran are tough and complex, but a comprehensive agreement would bring enormous benefits to all parties.

"For Iran, it would herald the beginning of reintegration into the international community, and open the door to an easing of sanctions and access to significant frozen assets. For the international community, it would mark a considerable advance for regional and global security. We cannot and will not succumb to the temptation of sealing a deal at any price, but we will remain steadfast in pursuit of a comprehensive agreement which respects the clear principle that Iran must not be able to develop a nuclear weapons capability." Iran denies the allegation that it may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear bombs under the guise of a civilian program, saying its nuclear activities are meant only for peaceful applications, such as electricity generation. However, Tehran has increased its cooperation with the UN nuclear agency and engaged in serious negotiations with the major powers to ease concerns over its nuclear program and help end the nuclear standoff.

  Maintaining Momentum     

Elsewhere, the British foreign secretary said, "Since July (when the first deadline for a final agreement was missed), negotiations between the E3+3 (the six major powers) and Iran have intensified and we have closed the gap between the parties on a number of important issues. But significant differences remain."

"The discussions in Vienna (from November 18 to 24) highlighted the need for further movement on some big issues by the Iranians and the need for flexibility on both sides."

He also said, "Despite the efforts of all parties, it was clear… that we need more time to close the gaps between the E3+3 and Iran, particularly regarding the issue of Iran’s enrichment capacity, which remains at the heart of this negotiation.  "But, based on the significant progress we have made to date, I remain of the view – a view which is shared by my fellow E3+3 ministers and Iranian Foreign Minister (Mohammad Javad) Zarif – that a comprehensive deal remains possible. We must capitalize on the momentum we have gathered, and push forward to achieve this prize."

  Progress on Key Issues

The French foreign minister also said on Tuesday that the nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) had been "pretty positive" and that progress had been made on key issues including Iran's capacity to enrich uranium.

"On limiting Iran's capacity to enrich, I found that there had been a certain movement," Laurent Fabius told France Inter radio, Reuters reported.

Fabius said the six powers had "sketched" technical solutions over Iran's Arak heavy water reactor, which western powers fear could yield significant quantities of plutonium if it is brought on line without major modifications. Iran has said it is ready to redesign the reactor to sharply reduce its output of plutonium to ease concerns in this regard.  

The French official also said there had been progress on how to verify that Iran would keep to its commitments once a deal was in place.

"As long as everything is not solved, nothing is solved, but the tone was more positive than before," Fabius said.

"The devil is in the detail, but there is a will to find an agreement that I hadn't felt in previous talks."