Geneva, 24 Nov (AFP): World powers reached an agreement with Iran over its nuclear programme, their chief negotiator Catherine Ashton and Iran’s foreign minister said.
“We have reached agreement between E3+3 and Iran,” Ashton’s spokesman Michael Mann quoted her as saying on Twitter, without giving any details.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “We have reached an agreement.”
The announcement came after more than four days of talks in Geneva between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, chaired by Ashton, who is the European Union’s top diplomat.
The talks were aimed at getting Iran to scale back parts of its nuclear programme in return for relief from painful sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and Western countries.
It was the third meeting in Geneva since Hassan Rouhani became Iranian president in August. The reputed moderate has raised hopes for an end to the decade-old standoff over Iran’s nuclear work.
Numerous diplomatic initiatives have failed over the past 10 years to persuade Iran to rein in its programme, which Tehran insists is peaceful but which Western countries suspect is aimed at crafting atomic weapons.
Foreign ministers from the six powers including US Secretary of State John Kerry had jetted into Geneva for the second time in two weeks on 23 November after negotiators made good progress.
The hope that they would quickly sew up the agreement faded however as the talks dragged on throughout the day and until the early hours of 24 November.
In particular they appeared to snag on Iran’s insistence to have its “right” to enrich uranium formally recognised by the six powers, something Western countries strictly opposed.
It was unclear how this tricky issue has been got around in the new deal. Officials are due to give press conferences later in the day.