Majid Asgaripour / AP)
Tehran, Iran — Iran has agreed to open the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program to daily inspection by international experts starting from Jan. 20, setting the clock running on a six-month deadline for a final nuclear agreement, officials said Sunday. In exchange, Iran will get a relaxation of the financial sanctions that have been crippling its economy.
Some U.S. lawmakers have been leery of the agreement, calling for tougher sanctions against Iran, rather than any loosening of controls.
Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi saying the deal, which sets the terms of a landmark agreement reached in November, would take effect from Jan. 20. The agency said Iran will grant the United Nations’ atomic agency access to its nuclear facilities and its centrifuge production lines to confirm it is complying with terms of the deal.
Araghchi later told state television some $4.2 billion in seized oil revenue would be released under the deal. Senior officials in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration put the total relief figure at $7 billion.
Under the November agreement, Iran agreed to limit its uranium enrichment to 5 percent, the grade commonly used to power reactors. The deal also commits Iran to stop producing 20 percent enriched uranium, which is a technical step away from weapons-grade material, and to neutralize its 20 percent stockpile over the six months.
In exchange, sanctions Iran faces would be eased for six months. During that time, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States would continue negotiations with Iran on a permanent deal.