Nuclear Accord Likely in Months

Nuclear Accord Likely  in MonthsNuclear Accord Likely  in Months

The former ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva has commented it is likely that Iran and the major powers will finalize a comprehensive deal on Tehran's nuclear program in a few months.

"In view of the fact that much of the negotiations with the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) has been completed, it seems that the parties will conclude a comprehensive agreement over the next few months," Ali Khorram told ISNA in an interview published on Saturday.

Iran and the six major powers failed to meet a November 24 deadline to build on a preliminary agreement to strike a final deal to resolve the 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear work and gave themselves six more months until June 30, 2015 to work out a long-term settlement to the issue. They also extended the interim nuclear deal they reached in Geneva in November 2013. After the most recent round of nuclear talks in Vienna from November 18-24, all negotiating partners said that the talks made "substantial progress" and that it was possible to hammer out a final accord in the coming months.

Khorram said Iran and the P5+1 managed to seal an interim deal last year and they have met their commitments under it, adding that any government that takes office in any country that is engaged in the talks will be obliged to honor the agreement.

  Time Frame

On the duration of the final deal, which is one of the key issues in the talks, he said the process of confidence-building for the countries which decided to have a uranium enrichment program had normally taken eight to 18 years, but it seems that in the case of Iran, the length of any agreement will be shorter than the maximum time frame.

Commenting on the mechanism of lifting sanctions, he said the EU sanctions can easily be scrapped and the sanctions imposed by the US Congress should also be removed after the negotiating countries sign an agreement with Iran on the future scope of Tehran's uranium enrichment program and the country's stocks of enriched uranium. "The US lawmakers should abide by an international decision."   

Elsewhere, the former diplomat said that Iran's decision as to whether to accept an Additional Protocol to its safeguards agreement depends on the outcome of the talks. "Iran can accept the protocol after reaching a comprehensive nuclear agreement."   

The Additional Protocol is a legal document granting the International Atomic Energy Agency complementary inspection authority to that provided in underlying safeguards agreements. A principal aim is to enable the IAEA inspectorate to provide assurance about both declared and possible undeclared nuclear activities of a member state. Under the protocol, the IAEA is granted expanded rights of access to information and sites.  

Tehran voluntarily signed the Additional Protocol in December 2003 and remained committed to it for over two years, but suspended its implementation after the UN Security Council imposed nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.