Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

NZ welcomes Iran nuclear pledge

Murray Mccully.
Murray Mccully.

New Zealand has welcomed the agreement reached in Geneva yesterday aimed at capping Iran's nuclear programme.

The United States and five other powers concluded the deal after four days of bargaining and a last-minute intervention by US Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers from Europe, China and Russia.

Iran agreed to stop progress on its nuclear programme, including a plutonium reactor at the Arak facility, and neutralise its 20-per-cent-enriched uranium stockpiles, estimated to be nearly enough to produce a nuclear bomb. Iran must meet its commitments within six months.

Iran will gain relief from Western economic sanctions in that time, which American officials say will provide between $6 billion and $7 billion in foreign exchange.

"New Zealand welcomes this initial six-month agreement," said Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

"It is the most positive development in nearly 10 years of talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.

"It is, however, an interim deal and there is more to be done."

The agreement reached yesterday will allow international powers to strike a permanent agreement with Iran's new government headed by President Hasan Rouhani.

President Barack Obama called the deal "an important first step toward a comprehensive solution" to the nuclear issue.

- NZ Herald

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