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Global ‘Elders’ urge Iran to build on nuclear deal

  • Kofi Annan, former U.N secretary general, center, reads a statement at the conclusion of his meeting with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014, with Martti Ahtisaari, former president of Finland, left, and Ernesto Zedillo, Mexican ex-president, right. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

TEHRAN: The former head of the United Nations urged Iran Monday to build on a historic deal reached with world powers in November and work toward a final settlement over its contested nuclear program.

Kofi Annan, who is heading a group of former-world leaders known as “The Elders,” made the comments after a meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif Monday.

“We believe that there have been a number of recent positive developments, most important the interim nuclear agreement signed in Geneva last November. These efforts now need to be sustained to achieve final agreement,” he told a news conference in Tehran.

Iran halted 20 percent enrichment and started neutralizing its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium on Jan. 20 to fulfill its commitments under the accord.

Under the six-month deal, Iran has agreed to halt its 20 percent enrichment program, which produces uranium just steps away from military grade, but will continue enrichment up to 5 percent.

In return, the U.S. and the EU simultaneously announced the lifting of sanctions on petrochemical products, insurance, gold and other precious metals, passenger plane parts and services. They also plan to release $4.2 billion Iranian assets of oil revenues blocked overseas, in eight installments over a period of six months.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 28, 2014, on page 9.
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