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Iran, world powers reach nuclear deal

Iran has agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for about $7bn  in sanctions relief, after days of intense talks in Geneva, the BBC reports.

The deal will last for six months, while a permanent agreement is sought.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal, saying it would “help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon”.

In a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, President Rouhani repeated that his country would never seek a nuclear weapon He hailed the deal, saying it met one of Iran’s fundamental principles.

“No matter what interpretations are given, Iran’s right to enrichment has been recognised,” he said.

Iran agreed to halt enrichment to medium-grade (20%) purity, which can be further enriched to weapons-grade level relatively easily, and give better access to UN inspectors.

The deal comes just months after Iran elected Mr Rouhani – regarded as a relative moderate – as its new president, succeeding the hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

It has also been backed by Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say in nuclear matters.

After four days of negotiations, representatives of the so-called P5+1 group of nations – the US, the UK, Russia, China, France and Germany – reached the agreement with Iran in the early hours of Sunday.

Key points of the deal have been released by the White House:

  • Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5%, and “neutralise” its stockpile of uranium enriched beyond this point
  • Iran will give greater access to inspectors including daily access at Natanz and Fordo nuclear sites
  • There will be no further development of the Arak plant which it is believed could produce plutonium
  • In return, there will be no new nuclear-related sanctions for six months if Iran sticks by the accord
  • Iran will also receive sanctions relief worth about $7bn (£4.3bn) on sectors including precious metals
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