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Russia says only winners, no losers in Iran nuclear deal

AFP | Last Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 19:15

Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday praised the deal world powers reached with Iran on Tehran`s nuclear programme and stressed it would benefit all sides.
"Nobody lost, everyone ends up winning," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying after marathon talks in Geneva yielded a landmark accord in which Iran agrees to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions relief.

Lavrov said the agreement allowed for wider inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), fostered much-needed trust in the Middle East and assuaged fears of nuclear proliferation.

"Now it will be very difficult to go around the facts determined by the IAEA. We are convinced that Iran will cooperate with the agency in good faith," he told Russian journalists.

In the next six months, negotiations will iron out "the parameters Iran needs for peaceful nuclear activity, notably to produce fuel for nuclear power stations, for research reactors, for reactors that produce isotopes for medical and other humanitarian ends," Lavrov said.

He commended the decision to ease Western sanctions in that period. "We didn`t recognise these unilateral sanctions, so it is correct to start easing pressure on Iran by removing unilateral sanctions," he said.

Lavrov praised Iran`s new President Hassan Rouhani for his serious intentions that made the agreement possible.

"With the arrival of the new president to power in Iran we have felt that declarations about the desire to resolve this issue have serious foundations," Lavrov said.

A dissenting voice however is Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned countries against giving Iran "an unbelievable Christmas present" in an interview aired by Russian Rossiya channel late on Saturday.

"I don`t know why they need (the civilian nuclear programme), they have gas and oil coming out of their ears," said Netanyahu, who came for talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow last week. He added in the interview that he is convinced that Iran "will cheat" on any agreement.

The Russian foreign ministry in a statement on Sunday said that "common sense prevailed" in the negotiations, and the deal will make the whole region safer.

"The agreement... Will help overcome the trend of the past years of attempts to solve a series of crisis and conflict situations in the Middle East by force. It will increase safety in the region," the statement said.

"Group of `Six` and Iran did it!" the foreign ministry said in an unusually enthusiastic tweet.

"The world did not miss its chance," it said, calling the deal "historic".

First Published: Sunday, November 24, 2013 - 19:15
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