10/21/2014, 00.00
IRAN - IRAQ
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United Nations admits Tehran "meeting its commitment" on nuclear programme

A report by the UN atomic energy agency confirms that the Iranian government is meeting its commitments under a 2013 interim agreement. The document could be a prelude to an historic deal ahead of the deadline of 24 November. Iraqi Prime Minister is in Tehran on an official visit to find ways to fight the Islamic State. The Vatican calls for greater involvement of Iran on the international stage.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) - With just over a month left for a deadline to reach a long-term nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Monday that Iran is "meeting its commitments" under a short-term deal reached in 2013.

The UN report might usher in a final (historic) agreement between Tehran and the nations involved in the negotiations - the five members of the Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, plus Germany - and thus end a decade of disputes.

The international nuclear watchdog said that Iran had diluted about 9,000 pounds (4,000 Kilos) of enriched uranium down to the level of natural uranium, and that the country was making further efforts to comply with the terms of the interim nuclear agreement of November 2013.

The latter came into effect in January and was extended in July, after Iran and the six world powers failed to find a comprehensive long-term agreement.

The main bones of contention remain the timing for the end of US-EU sanctions and how far Iran will be allowed to enrich uranium.

Albeit with somewhat different emphasis, the members of the P5+1 group want Tehran to curb significantly its capacity to enrich uranium, keeping only a few hundred active centrifuges, and ensuring that its activities are peaceful. In return, Iran wants the removal of international sanctions that are strangling its economy.

Recently, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that a nuclear deal with the West was certain and that it would be concluded by the deadline of 24 November. However, the State of Israel, some political circles in the United States, and radical Iranian lawmakers are opposed to a deal.

Meanwhile, late last night, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi arrived in Tehran for the first official visit since he took office. The event is taking place under emergency conditions due to the offensive by extremist Sunni militias of the Islamic State (IS) in large sections of the Middle East.

The visit by the Iraqi prime minister, a Shia, did not include any official agenda and is expected to last only a day. Nevertheless, it should include discussions about steps to take to stop Jihadist attacks and prevent the fall of Baghdad. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq has been a close Iranian ally.

Previously Abadi met with the highest Shia authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and reiterated that the fight against IS would not involve any foreign ground troops in Iraq.

The Vatican Secretary of State, Card Pietro Parolin, also talked about Iran during the Consistory dedicated to the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

"Peace in the Middle East," the cardinal said, "must be sought through dialogue that leads to a 'regional' solution, not through unilateral decisions imposed by force."

Regarding the role of Iran, Mgr Parolin added that "The involvement of Iran, through the multiplication and improvement of its relations with the international community will contribute and facilitate a satisfactory solution to the nuclear question."

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