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GENEVA, January 20, /ITAR-TASS/. The intermediate agreement between Tehran and the Sextet (five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and Germany) to regulate Iran's "nuclear dossier" enters into force on Monday.
The document, intended for six months, was fixed at the end of November last year at a ministerial meeting in Geneva after prolonged and tortuous negotiations. Several rounds of consultations at experts' level were held subsequently to fix technicalities. Those meetings not always went off stably and smoothly, owing primarily to the US decision to extend lists of anti-Iranian sanctions. Nevertheless, on January 12, the sides managed to fix a date for the start of a countdown of the half-year period.
The agreement envisages a set of steps on the part of Tehran, the implementation of which will make it possible to allay first-priority concerns of the international community and enhance international monitoring of Iran's nuclear-related activitities.
Tehran undertook within the prescribed period to stop enriching uranium above 5 percent and after half a year destroy all stocks of nuclear materials enriched up to 20 percent, cease installing any enrichment centrifuges, stop building new uranium enrichment centers and discontinue the development of the programme for the production of plutonium. The Islamic Republic, nevertheless, on the whole, upheld the principled right to atom-for-peace power engineering.
The Western countries, in reply, must slacken sanctions which are a serious obstacle to the development of the Iranian economy. To begin with, though, pressure will be slackened quite slightly.
In particular, within the operation of the intermediate agreement, Iran will be able to get about $7 billion. The rest of Iranian assets, amounting to about $100 billion frozen abroad, still remains inaccessible to it. Tehran will be allowed to export oil at the 2013 level (1.38 million barrels a day, on average). The ban on trade with Iran in gold and precious metals, as well as on cooperation and foreign investments in the automobile, transport, and petrochemical sectors will be also partially suspended.
Such loosenings may be reconsidered in the event of failure by Iran to fulfill the obligations. In the process, the sanctions introduced sby UN Security Council's resolutions remain in force so far.
So, the coming six months will be testlike ones for Tehran and if it passes this exam under the most strict monitoring of the international community, the sides will approach the conclusion of of a more detailed, comprehensive agreement. As early as in the coming days, the European Union may decide to suspend the appplication of a number of sanctions with regard to the IRI. Brussels plans to do that after a confirmation comes from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Tehran began to implement the accords reached in Geneva. It is precisely this week that the IAEA will present an evaluation of the present state of Iran's nuclear programme, especially the uranium enrichment projects and the reactor at Arak.
Besides, as it became known to Itar-Tass, the political directors of the Six will gather in Geneva on January 21 to discucs further steps and coordinate actions. The Russian side will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. According to preliminary data, the meeting will be held without the IRI's participation.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, speaking at the close of the talks in Moscow with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on January 16, called on all the sides involved to go ahead with constructive cooperation. "We consider it important to maintain a constructive interaction among all the participants in the process so as to keep up and strengethen the spirit of joint work that was established in Geneva, strictly to adhere to the norms of international law, and refrain from statements or actions that would go beyon this framework and capable of having a negative effect on the course of negotiations," Lavrov pointed out.
Russia's Foreign Ministry analysts emphasized that Moscow, just as previously was the case, "will do everything depending on it to ensure a positive dynamic development of the Sextet's dialogue with Iran and achieve a final solution to the problem at the negotiating table".