(Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister said a preliminary agreement reached on Thursday to contain Iran’s nuclear program represented a “big, decisive step forward” that could lead to an easing of tensions across the Middle East if a final deal was clinched in over the coming months.
“It is too early to celebrate. Nevertheless, with the framework agreement we have overcome obstacles that stood in the way of a deal for a decade,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement.
“If a final agreement is achieved, it could in my view not only pave the way for a solution to the Iran conflict, but it would be the first and only conflict in the Middle East where we will have achieved a de-escalation. It could therefore provide hope for an easing of tensions in the region and between Iran and Arab states,” Steinmeier added.
According to the statement, Iran would agree to sign up to limits and monitoring of its nuclear enrichment program for a period of up to 25 years. In the first 10 years, more than two-thirds of the current enrichment capacity must be decommissioned, and over 95 percent of its enriched uranium diluted or exported.
All of Iran’s nuclear activities would be subject to the “strictest oversight” by the UN’s nuclear watchdog. The agreed regime was “unprecedented in its intensity and duration”, the statement said.
If Iran violates the agreed rules, sanctions could be reintroduced immediately, the statement added.