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AFP

Britain says Iran deal does
not mention "right to enrich"

LONDON - Britain said Sunday that Iran's nuclear deal did not refer to Tehran's "right to enrich" uranium, but added that a final agreement could allow "limited" enrichment for peaceful purposes.

 

Tehran has boasted that the interim deal, which offers Iran limited sanctions relief, recognized its right to enrich uranium, but Washington also denied any such reference.

 

"The phrase [right to enrich uranium] is not in the document," Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC after arriving back in London following the landmark deal in Geneva.

 

"The document does not resolve the argument about whether there is such a thing as the right to enrich."

 

"What it says, is that as part of a comprehensive solution, if we reach that further stage of a comprehensive solution, Iran would be able to enjoy its basic rights to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and that would involve what we call a mutually-defined enrichment program limited to practical needs."

 

"Now that's an important statement by the rest of us, by the international community, that that is in return for negotiating a comprehensive settlement that will give assurance to the whole world that the Iranian nuclear program is for peaceful purposes."

 

Under the interim deal, Iran agreed with the P5+1 group -- the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany -- to row back some of its nuclear activities.

 

Hague has welcomed the news, adding it would take Tehran further away from a "nuclear weapons threshold".

 

"Iran has made a lot of concessions, a lot of commitment here, as part of a 'first step' deal," Hague told the BBC.

 

"It is true this agreement does not deal with all of the issues of Iran's nuclear program."

 

"But we won't be able to get an agreement unless we do this first-stage agreement that gives us the time and the space to do so, that stops so many aspects of Iran's nuclear program and actually rolls back some other aspects, so that ... it takes them further away from that nuclear weapons threshold while we negotiate a full comprehensive agreement."

 

Hague praised Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for their "constructive" but "tough" approach, adding that the deal "should give us faith in the power of diplomacy".

The phrase [right to enrich uranium] is not in the document.