MOSCOW, November 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday praised a last-minute agreement between Iran and the six international negotiators on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
“The agreement is a balanced list of measures and it will certainly have a positive influence on the development of the international situation, especially in the Middle Eastern region,” Putin said in a statement as quoted by the Kremlin.
Iran and the P5+1 group (permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) clinched the deal Sunday morning following four days of talks, apparently resolving the decade-long dispute over the issue.
A formal signing ceremony was held in the UN building in Geneva on Sunday involving representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States, led by the coordinator for the group, European Commission foreign relations head Catherine Ashton.
The core of the deal is a freeze on Iran’s nuclear program, in particular work on enrichment facilities, in exchange for a relaxation of the economic sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
In his statement, Putin called the deal “a breakthrough,” adding however that it was only the first step on a long road.
“Jointly with partners, we are ready to continue patiently seeking a mutually acceptable, wider comprehensive solution to ensure Iran’s inalienable right to the development of a peaceful nuclear program under IAEA control and security of all Middle Eastern countries, including Israel,” he said.
Western countries suspect Iran of using its nuclear program to develop atomic weapons capability, a claim Iran has consistently denied. Tehran claims it needs atomic technology for producing electricity, although it has some of the world's largest reserves of oil and gas.