US, EU announce to suspend certain sanctions against Iran

Eurasia News

TEHRAN: The United States and the European Union on Monday announced to suspend certain sanctions against Iran, hours after the Islamic Republic suspended 20 percent uranium enrichment as part of a deal it struck with major six world powers in the Swiss city of Geneva in November.

The decision by the EU regarding suspension of certain sanctions against Iran will ease restrictions on trade in petrochemicals, precious metals and the provision of insurance for oil shipments. Likewise, the ban on vessels to transport Iranian crude will also be lifted as part of the deal.

The rest of the EU sanctions against Iran will remain in place such as an arms embargo, all related technical and financial assistance, as will an asset freeze and a travel ban on targeted entities and persons.

Meanwhile, the White House welcomed the Iranian nuclear curbs as an unprecedented opportunity, while a US official said that Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the easing of EU sanctions on Tehran.

The US State Department also said that the upcoming negotiations with Iran about its nuclear program will be complex, but that the US is clear-eyed about the difficulties lying ahead.

Earlier in the day, the director general for safeguards at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation Mohammad Amiri said that Iran suspended the production of 20 percent enriched uranium at Natanz and Fordow nuclear sites in the presence of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.

“From now on, the centrifuges which were used for producing 20 percent enriched uranium will be used for enriching uranium to the five percent (purity level),” the top Iranian nuclear official pointed out.

Iran also started the process to dilute and oxidize its 196 kg stockpile of 20-percent-enriched uranium, he added. He said half of the stockpile will be oxidized over a period of six months at 15 kg a month.

The official said that the remaining half of the 20-percent-enriched uranium stockpile will be diluted within three months at one cylinder per three weeks.