Iran strikes critical deal on nuclear issue

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Geneva: Iran and six world powers clinched a deal curbing the Iranian nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief, signalling the start of a game-changing rapproachement that could ease the risk of a wider Middle East war.

Aimed at ending a long-festering standoff, the interim pact between Iran and the US, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia won the critical endorsement of Iran’s top cleric and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

US President Barack Obama said the deal struck after marathon, tortuous and politically charged negotiations cut off Tehran’s potential path to a nuclear weapon.

But Israel, Iran’s archenemy, denounced the agreement as an “historic mistake”. Halting Iran’s most sensitive nuclear work, its higher-grade enrichment of uranium, it was tailored as a package of confidence-building steps towards reducing decades of tension.

Deal offers no relief to India on oil

Washington: Despite the historic deal struck by Iran with the world powers over its controversial nuclear programme on Sunday, countries like India would have to continue reducing oil imports from Iran, according to a US fact sheet.

Under the agreement reached in Geneva, Iran has committed to halt enrichment above five per cent, neutralise its stockpile of near 20 per cent uranium and halt progress on its enrichment capacity, to halt progress on the growth of its 3.5 per cent stockpile and committed to no further advances of its activities at Arak and to halt progress on its plutonium track.

In response, the US and five major world powers have agreed to provide limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible relief while maintaining the vast bulk of the sanctions, including the oil, finance, and banking sanctions architecture.

“If Iran fails to meet its commitments, we will revoke the relief,” the US fact sheet said.

“Sanctions affecting crude oil sales will continue to impose pressure on Iran’s government. Working with our international partners, we have cut Iran’s oil sales from 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in early 2012 to 1 million bpd today, denying Iran the ability to sell almost 1.5 million bpd,” the fact sheet said.

“That’s a loss of more than $80 billion since the beginning of 2012 that Iran will never be able to recoup. Under this first step, the EU crude oil ban will remain in effect and Iran will be held to approximately one million bpd in sales, resulting in continuing lost sales worth an additional $4 billion per month, every month, going forward,” it said.

India has slashed import of crude oil from Iran by over 26.5 per cent in the financial year ended March 31 as US and European sanctions made it difficult to ship oil from the Persian Gulf nation.

India imported about 13.3 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran in 2012-13 fiscal, down from 18.1 million tonnes shipped in the previous financial year.

Oil sanctions alone will result in approximately $30 billion in lost revenues to Iran or roughly $5 billion per month compared to what Iran earned in a six-month period in 2011, before these sanctions took effect.

Iran used to be India’s second-largest supplier, but is now fifth or sixth.

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