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Iran gets first USD 500 mln portion of unfrozen assets

February 03, 2014, 22:28 UTC+3 TEHRAN
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TEHRAN, February 03, (ITAR-TASS). Iran has received the first 550 million U.S. dollar portion of its assets frozen earlier in Western banks.

The money was transferred to the account of the Central Bank of Iran in Switzerland, the IRNA news agency reported on Monday, February 3.

This is the first part of Iran’s 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of oil revenues that were frozen abroad. The money will be transferred to Iran in eight installments.

“Iran has about 100 billion dollars assets frozen in the Western banks. The interim nuclear deal obliges the western governments to unfreeze Iranian assets,” IRNA said.

The Western governments will guarantee an end to the propaganda campaign against the Iranian nuclear programme and the lifting of the sanctions they imposed on Iran, IRNA said.

“In the past 10 years, the Western governments intensified their hostility to Iran using the national nuclear programme as a pretext. They ignored international law and human rights in orchestrating the sanctions which inflicted several hundred billion dollars’ [worth of] damage on Iranian people,” the news agency said.

The interim nuclear deal made on November 24, 2013, called for taking the first step of reciprocal actions to prove good faith in a six-month period to be followed by negotiations for a comprehensive agreement, according to which the Western governments will acknowledge the Iranian nuclear programme as civilian.

A new round of technical consultations between Iran and the P5+1 at the level of experts ended in Geneva on December 31, 2013. A source involved in the negotiating process told ITAR-TASS that “substantial progress” had been achieved.

The main purpose of the consultations was to work out concrete steps to implement the Joint Plan of Action, which was agreed at the ministerial level in Geneva in late November 2013.

After many days of intensive discussions, the sides agreed the joint action plan in November. According to the plan, which spans a period of six months, Tehran pledged not to enrich uranium above a 5 percent concentration, not to continue fuel enrichment operations at Natanz, Fordo and Arak, and not to create new enrichment facilities.

Western countries, in turn, agreed to ease economic sanctions on Iran. Tehran will see the removal of sanctions on oil, petrochemicals, auto industry, gold and metal trades as well as parts of the aviation sector, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, adding that a total amount of 4.2 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Iranian frozen assets would ultimately be released.

The deal was called the first step to be followed by a comprehensive agreement, which, on the one hand, should resolve the international community’s concerns about the Iranian nuclear programme and, on the other hand, remove economic sanctions that slow down Iran’s economic development.

The agreement reached by and between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany) in Geneva last year became effective on January 20.

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said this was an important first step, but more work would be needed to fully address the international community’s concerns regarding the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.

“Over the coming six months, proper implementation of the agreed measures will be a key issue,” German media quoted Ashton as saying.

Araghchi told IRNA that there was a mutual understanding between Iran and G5+1 to enter into the next phase after implementing the first step of the interim agreement.

Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany will resume their talks on the Iranian nuclear programme in New York in February, the IRNA news agency said in late January.

It said that a new round of talks would be held in the presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, P5+1 officials.

The news agency said that the talks would focus on drafting a comprehensive agreement which will envisage cooperation of the Western governments with Iran on its national nuclear programme.

The date of a new meeting between Iran and the P5+1 may be set during Ashton’s upcoming visit to Terhan. “It is my intention to visit in the coming weeks,” Ashton told a news conference in Kuwait in the middle of January.

“The sides share the opinion that negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 should take place after the commencement of the first stage of the Geneva Accord,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, adding that the Iranian foreign minister was expected to meet with the EU High Representative to discuss this issue, possibly in February.

At the same time, he noted that no final decision on the date of the meeting had been made yet.

“The meeting may be organised during an international conference such as the Davos Forum or in Munich, or the talks will take place during Ashton’s visit to Tehran,” Araghchi said.

Ashton met with Zarif at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January to evaluate the latest nuclear negotiation process between Iran and Group 5+1.

They considered proposed dates for continuation of negotiation and underlined necessity of interaction to finalise an appropriate date, IRNA said.

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