Comment from the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for the mass media concerning the results of the negotiations between foreign ministers of the P5+1 international mediators and the Iranian delegation regarding the situation of Iran’s Nuclear Programme, Geneva, 24th November 2013

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Some very tough, long-lasting negotiations concerning Iran’s Nuclear Programme, have now ended. There was established an agreement which signifies the end of many years of contacts, during which we had our ups and downs. However, when Iran had a new President instated as its leader, we decided that their statements regarding their wish to resolve this problem must be serious. This manifested itself during negotiations with our Iranian colleagues two weeks ago, when this man had the first meeting of this kind in Geneva; as well as during these last days in the next round of negotiations, the final stage of which was attended by foreign ministers of all six countries which are members of the so-called EU3+3.

There was established an agreement which is based on the concept which was once proposed by the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and formalised in the Russian Foreign Policy Concept, whereby we all agree that we need to acknowledge the right of Iran to the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, including the right to enrich it, while at the same time understanding that all the questions which we have about Iran’s Nuclear Programme will be closed ones and that the programme itself will be under the strict control of the IAEA. This is the ultimate goal, but it has already been established in the document today.

It was agreed that the first stage of progress toward this goal will last six months. Iran will freeze its nuclear programme for this whole period of time, and will not add any new centrifuges or undertake any steps concerning the construction of a heavy water moderated reactor in Arak. Thus, the entire scope of Iran’s Nuclear Programme, which is currently under full IAEA control, will be the same as it is now in the next six months. It is expected to build confidence and allow our partners from the United States and the European Union to ease the pressure of sanctions which they introduced against Iran through the adoption of unilateral decisions outside the UN Security Council. We have never acknowledged them. Maybe what we need to do is ease the pressure on Iran, starting with the lifting of these unilateral sanctions.

The goal of these six months is not only the preservation of status quo. It was agreed that this period would be devoted to the continuation of negotiations in place for reaching final agreements on the conditions which Iran will be required to observe with regard to peaceful nuclear activities: primarily, the production of fuel for nuclear power plants, research reactors, and reactors which produce isotopes for medical and other humanitarian purposes. IAEA’s opportunities for controlling Iran’s nuclear programme are highly extensive. Tehran agreed to the entire set of additional measures apart from those which are currently being adopted by the Agency. I think that this is ultimately a benefit for everybody. First of all, we reduce significantly the number of questions posed by many countries as to whether Iran’s Nuclear Programme posed risks for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. At this time it will be very hard to avoid the facts which will be established by the IAEA, and we are absolutely convinced that Iran will cooperate with the Agency in good faith.

Secondly, we will certainly build trust through the implementation of this agreement – the trust which we have missed so much; the lack of which arose from unnecessary frictions in the Middle East and North Africa, and in the Gulf region.

Thirdly, we think that this step will allow for the creation of additional prerequisites for the advancement of the goal which was universally established by the global community in 2010, namely: to prepare the convention of a conference on the creation of a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction .

In this way, the entire set of factors is recognised as a benefit: nobody has lost; all are winners. I hope that, in addition to the positive factors which I have mentioned, this agreement will prove fruitfully conducive to the efforts toward the settlement of the problem in Syria and the involvement of Iran in constructive work together with all of us toward the holding of a Geneva-2 conference.