The “key parameters” to a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme are agreed, including restrictions on enrichment in exchange for sanctions being lifted.
The UK, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United State, the EU and Iran agreed the terms during marathon talks in Lausanne, Switzerland. The parties will now work on finalising the details of the deal by 30 June.
We’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be. Mohammad Javad Zarif
Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US and the EU had agreed to cease nuclear-related sanctions under the future deal and said all UN Security Council resolutions would be terminated.
“We’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be,” Mr Zarif added.
International Editor Lindsey Hilsum reports from Lausanne:
This deal is more significant than we had been led to expect - the diplomats carefully managed our expectations so we were surprised at how comprehensive it turned out to be.
The Iranian FM Javad Zarif was beaming as he spoke in English to assembled journalists, emphasising that Iran's rights and dignity had been maintained.
This is the key message for him to present back home: Iran is not surrendering its nuclear programme - matter of national pride - but merely making adjustments to reassure the international community.
In exchange, EU and US sanctions will be lifted. That's what Iranians want to hear - that they will be able to use the Swift system of international bank transfers again, and imported goods will no longer be prohibitively expensive.
He said Iran would continue enriching uranium at its Natanz facility, but would cease operations at Fordow. The EU’s Federica Mogherini said an international joint venture would assist Iran in redesigning and building a modernised heavy water reactor at its facility in Arak.
This outcome is testament to the persistence and willingness of all sides to be flexible in finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Philip Hammond
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the deal was “well beyond what many of us thought possible 18 months ago”.
He said: “We have agreed the key parameters of a comprehensive deal on Iran’s nuclear programme. This includes Iranian agreement to restrict its programme by limiting its enrichment capacity, level and stockpile for specified durations. Research and development will be conducted within agreed bounds. Iran has also agreed to allow greater oversight of its activities.
“A comprehensive deal within these parameters will provide reassurance that the programme is peaceful. In return, Iran will receive significant economic and financial sanctions relief including the termination of all UN Security Council Resolutions.
He added: “Talks were extremely tough. We always said we would never agree a bad deal. This outcome is testament to the persistence and willingness of all sides to be flexible in finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
“It demonstrates what can be achieved when international partners work together in pursuit of a common goal.
“We will continue to have our differences on many other issues with Iran, including on some key regional issues. But a comprehensive deal will improve confidence, trust and dialogue on all sides, and most importantly, avoid a nuclear arms race in the region.”