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Nuclear talks: India, world powers welcome Iran deal, Israel fumes

world Updated: Apr 03, 2015 12:01 IST
HT Correspondent
Nuclear deal


India joined the US and other western powers in welcoming the historic agreement on the framework of a deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear programme while Israel claimed the proposed accord could jeopardise its existence if implemented.

Iran and six western powers agreed on the framework on Thursday during marathon talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne, raising hopes the deal could help stability in the Middle East.

“India welcomes the understanding announced in Lausanne between Iran and the E3+3 on the nuclear issue. A significant step seems to have been taken with agreement on the parameters of a comprehensive settlement to be negotiated by June 30,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Friday.

New Delhi said the announcement underlined the success of diplomacy and dialogue, which India ”has always supported and which we hope would lead to a comprehensive agreement by June 30”.

The ministry pointed out that India had always maintained the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully by “respecting Iran's right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy” and the world community's strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the "historic understanding" with Iran after decades of hostility but cautioned that more work needs to be done. "If Iran cheats, the world will know it," he said in a televised address from the White House after the deal was announced.

Obama hailed the "historic understanding" and said he is willing to engage with Iran "on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect."

Secretary of State John Kerry hailed a "big day" while Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the drafting of a full accord would begin immediately with the aim of completing it by the deadline.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the US and the EU will lift all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran once the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Tehran has stuck to the groundbreaking deal.

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman quoted him as saying to Obama that Israel's existence would be jeopardised if the framework deal agreed with Iran is implemented.

“PM Netanyahu to Pres Obama: A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel," spokesman Mark Regev posted on his official Twitter account.

Regev quoted the Israeli premier as saying in the telephone conversation that the deal, as it appears to be emerging, "would not block Iran's path to the bomb. It would pave it.

"It would increase the risks of nuclear proliferation and the risks of a horrific war," Regev added.

The White House quoted Obama as telling Netanyahu that the framework deal with Iran represented "significant progress."

"The President emphasised that, while nothing is agreed until everything is, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran's pathways to a bomb," it said.

The White House said Obama spoke to Netanyahu from aboard Air Force One to discuss the framework agreement that would see Iran scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Israeli officials had earlier branded the deal as a "historic mistake" and "dangerous".

Analysts said Obama is eager to resolve at least one intractable conflict in his final two years in office and had his eye on reconciliation with Iran.

Thursday's agreement on a roadmap for the final phase of negotiations on a nuclear accord could open a way to a broader realignment that would redraw the map of the Middle East, the analysts said.

But they warned that the long-time foes remain far from a rapprochement and any future cooperation would be limited.

"In Barack Obama's head, there's this fantasy of a grand bargain, an alliance with Iran, and of reconstructing the architecture of the region for a paradigm shift," said Joseph Bahout, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Center.

"This is the fantasy of the Obama administration, but he knows it will never happen because Iran is a lot colder. They'll take the nuclear deal, but everything will remain business as usual," he added.

Relations between Tehran and Washington are haunted by the 1953 coup, orchestrated by the CIA, which overthrew Iranian premier Mohamed Mosssadegh and restored royal rule.

The divide between Israel and the US has been deepened by decades of hostile rhetoric. The US is regularly denounced as the "Great Satan" by Iranian leaders, and Washington has slammed Tehran as a "rogue state" that is part of an "axis of evil."

The so-called P5+1 group – the US, Britain, China, France and Russia plus Germany – hope the deal will make it virtually impossible for Iran to make nuclear weapons.

Iran, one of the world's major oil producing countries, has always denied seeking the atomic bomb, saying its activities are for energy generation and research.

Read | Who said what as world powers sealed historic Iran nuclear deal

(With agency inputs)

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