It is only a first-step agreement, but it felt like a full-blown waltz for some of the negotiators in Geneva in the early hours of Sunday morning.
After hours of gruelling talks everyone present felt there was something to celebrate in the nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world’s great powers. Just how much remains to be seen, but
the start has been made, and Iran and the West are talking, not shouting, again.
“After intense negotiations we’ve reached agreement today on a joint plan of action which sets out an approach to us reaching a long-term, comprehensive solution,” said the EU’s policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Iran has agreed to freeze its current programme and enrich uranium to lower non-military fissile levels and halt work on the Arak reactor, which could have produced plutonium, in return for a loosening of some sanctions.
“It is important that we, all of us, see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect for the rights of the Iranian people and removal of any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme,” said iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iran also gets access to three billion euro’s worth of foreign exchange. Critics of the deal say Iran escapes with something much more valuable: time.
“It may be an ‘interim deal’ or just a ‘framework’ for later and more substantial agreements, but it’s still an historic moment and a breakthrough in the decade-old nuclear crisis. It will no doubt open many windows of opportunity for both sides in the future,” says euronews’ Fariba Mavdaat in Geneva.