[Update] Because of strong opposition from Israel, Knesset members, US Congress key members and Saudi Arabia, this was a do or die moment in Geneva.
(RT) – The P5+1 world powers and Iran have struck a historic deal on Tehran’s nuclear program at talks in Geneva. Ministers overcame the last remaining hurdles to reach an interim agreement, despite strong pressure from Israel and lobby groups. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists:
“This deal means that we agree with the need to recognize Iran’s right for peaceful nuclear energy, including the right for enrichment, with an understanding that those questions about the [Iranian nuclear program] that still remain, and the program itself, will be placed under a strictest IAEA control.”
Under the agreement, Iran will freeze its nuclear program for six months. It will not build new centrifuges or in some other way expand its nuclear facilities. The nation has also agreed to halt construction of a reactor in Arak for the next 6 months.
(PressTV) – “Minister Wang Yi left Beijing earlier this morning for Geneva to join the Iran nuclear talks,” the Foreign Ministry said on its website on Saturday.
“The nuclear discussions are entering their final phase,” it added.
Hopes are now rising that a final deal that many say could end the standoff over the Iranian nuclear energy program is just around the corner as US Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers of world powers gather in Geneva to join the talks.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle are set to join the talks, while British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Twitter that he would be in Geneva on Saturday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in the Swiss city on Friday afternoon and held a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and later with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Continued below the fold …
(RT) – Following a day of exhausting bilateral meetings between Iranian and Russian FMs and the EU’s chief diplomat, top ministers from other P5+1 powers have announced plans to add extra political weight and join the talks ahead of a much-anticipated deal.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was the first to arrive in Geneva on Friday evening. Lavrov has already held bilateral meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton. Details of the meetings were not disclosed.
Following the Russian FM’s diplomatic efforts in Geneva, late on Friday the US State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry was expected to join the talks on Saturday.
“Secretary Kerry will travel to Geneva later today with the goal of continuing to help narrow the differences and move closer to an agreement,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Soon after Kerry’s travel plans had been confirmed, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also announced they would travel to Geneva to attend talks on Saturday.
“Laurent Fabius will travel to Geneva tonight for the Iranian nuclear talks,” a French diplomatic source told Reuters. Meanwhile, Hague tweeted that he will “join other E3+3 Foreign Ministers at Geneva Iran talks.”
- ○ Ambassador Power: Khamenei’s comments ‘abhorrent’
○ Netanyahu, Putin sharply divided over Iran nuclear deal
My earlier diary – New IAEA Report Favors Iran, A Slowdown at Nuclear Facilities.