I dont like this country but Iran said Friday its willingness to return to the community of nations after years of diplomatic isolation, a day after a framework agreement on its nuclear program with major powers which was denounced by Israel. Iran and Group 5 + 1 (China, USA, France, UK, Russia and Germany) agreed Thursday in Switzerland on the "parameters" of a fiercely negotiated agreement for 18 months. They must now address the complex technical details of a final agreement to be reached before June 30. This agreement is a major breakthrough in an international crisis twelve years old, but confidence is far from established. The West and Iran emphasized that everything could be questioned in case of non compliance with the terms of the other party.
Calling for increased pressure on Iran to get a better deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Tehran recognizes "unambiguous" Israel's right to exist in any nuclear agreement, unworkable requirement while Both countries are bitter enemies. But in Tehran, President Hassan Rohani assured that if made, the nuclear deal would open a "new page" in international relations of the Islamic Republic.
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The framework agreement provides "new cooperation with the world in the nuclear sector and other sectors," he said in a televised speech.
"We have tensions and even hostility with certain countries, and we hope at the end of these tensions and these hostilities," he has said, without specifying which country he was referring to. But the final agreement will be valid only if both parties respect the commitments made Thursday, he warned.
He again assured that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful, saying its uranium enrichment "will not be used against countries in the region or the world. Gulf Arab monarchies Sunnis are concerned with nuclear ambitions of Shiite Iran. For Netanyahu, this interim agreement would threaten "the very survival" of Israel, while the destruction of Israel is part of the rhetoric of the Islamic Republic.
Iranian religious leaders also welcomed the result obtained in Lausanne. "This framework agreement is very good and it is a victory for us," said the imam of Friday prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani,. The announcement of the agreement was greeted by scenes of joy and a concert of horns in the streets of Tehran in the night. Many Iranians hoped especially the rapid lifting of international sanctions which asphyxiate their country for years.
The head of Iranian diplomacy, Mohammad Javad Zarif, was greeted as a hero on his return to Tehran on Friday morning, after eight days of marathon negotiations. He thanked the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the ultimate decision maker in the nuclear issue, for his "outstanding support" to the team, though criticized by some Iranian conservatives for according to them made too many concessions. Mehdi Mohammadi, a political analyst quoted by several conservative media denounced in particular compromise "not balanced" remnants "wave" on sanctions.
Conservative MP Esmail Kosari for his part blasted a negotiating team "very low", saying the results were "not acceptable". According to the framework agreement concluded with the 5 + 1, Iran must significantly reduce the number of centrifuges, machines that convert the uranium enriched to 90%, is used to make a bomb. Tehran also suspend uranium enrichment for 15 years in the underground Fordo site. The issue of sanctions is the trickiest. Tehran wants them lifted upon the signing of the global agreement, while the draft provides for the suspension of US and European measures if the International Atomic Energy Agency certifies that Iran meet its obligations. They will be restored if the agreement is not applied.
While welcoming the agreement, the international community remains cautious.
British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed "a solid agreement" that "blocks all paths to a nuclear bomb" but the head of French diplomacy Laurent Fabius ruled that the thorny issue of sanctions was "not yet fully is set. " Berlin warned it was "too early to celebrate" because there was "no guarantee" of a final success, and Russia said it remained "still much to clarify."
Engaged in a showdown with Congressional Republicans who have threatened to bypass the agreement, US President Barack Obama, represented in Geneva by the Secretary of State John Kerry, spoke of a "historic agreement" that will, however, be subject to "unprecedented checks" in its application. If Iran is cheating, "the world will know." In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia hoped for a "binding final agreement" for Iran. Syria, an ally of Iran, welcomed, saying it will help "reduce tensions in the international and regional level."