Iranian officials hailed a nuclear agreement signed with six world powers early Sunday, calling it a large success for the regime in Tehran and confirmation of the country’s right to enrich uranium.
The agreement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, represented “a big success for Iran” and an indication that “all plots hatched by the Zionist regime to stop the nuclear agreement have failed,” according to a report from state-sponsored Islamic Republic News Agency.
Zarif acknowledged on Sunday that the deal was “only a first step,” according to a Reuters report. “We need to start moving in the direction of restoring confidence, a direction in which we have managed to move against in the past,” he said.
The agreement signed Sunday morning in Geneva after several months of intense talks, including some in secret, amounts to a six-month partial freeze in Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited relief on the Western sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.
However, Iran has “no trust” in the Obama administration, and the deal is an opportunity for American to “renew the confidence of the Iranian nation,” Zarif told Iranian state news agency Press TV. Iran will, as part of the deal, cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency in order to “minimize the worry,” he added.
Despite signing the deal, a disagreement formed between the US and Iran over whether it included Western recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, as Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi told the Tehran Times Sunday.
In a briefing with press shortly after the deal was announced, a senior US administration official emphasized that the US does not – and will not – recognize any Iranian right to enrich uranium.
In Geneva on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed at a press conference that the deal recognized Iran’s right to civilian nuclear power.
A reported copy of the interim agreement, posted online by Iran’s Fars News, included recognition of the right to enrichment in a bullet list of goals for a final deal.
Araqchi, who served as lead Iranian negotiator in the talks, had emphasized earlier that Iran would not accept an agreement that did not recognize the right of the Islamic Republic to continue to enrichment uranium.
Speaking to Press TV, Zarif said the nuclear crisis is now “abating,” and, as part of the deal, no new sanctions will be imposed on Iran during the six-month interim period before final negotiations.
“In the final step, the (uranium) enrichment process will be accepted and at the same time all the sanctions will be lifted,” he said, according to a New York Times translation. Tehran seeks to have a nuclear program that will be “free of international pressure,” he added.
In Tehran, people were optimistic over the deal, Al Jazeera reported.
“They are waking up to the news in a much more positive mood than at any other time during any of these talks,” the news channel’s correspondent in Tehran said.
Israeli officials have heavily criticized the agreement, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman telling Israel Radio that it was the greatest achievement for Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.