Middle East

Iran's parliament backs nuclear deal

A worker walks inside of an uranium conversion facility March 30, 2005 just outside the city of Isfahan, about 254 miles (410 kilometers), south of capital Tehran, Iran. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Iran says that its nuclear programme is peaceful

Iran's parliament has approved a deal on its nuclear programme agreed with six world powers, state media say.

The deal was passed with 161 votes in favour, 59 against and 13 abstentions, the official IRNA news agency said.

However, parliament insisted that international inspectors would have only limited access to military sites.

The agreement, struck in July, authorises the lifting of sanctions in return for Iran curbing sensitive nuclear activities.

Iran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

The deal between Iran and the so-called P5+1 - the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany - was reached after 20 months of negotiations.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The nuclear deal came after long negotiations

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But it has come in for criticism from hardliners in both the US and Iran.

In September, Republicans in the US Congress tried to sink the deal by voting on a motion of disapproval.

Democrats, however, gathered enough votes to block the motion and handed US President Barack Obama a political victory.

In Iran, conservative MPs criticised President Hassan Rouhani for suggesting they were deliberately trying to delay the deal.

Correspondents say Iran's parliament has seen angry clashes over the agreement.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, was among those taking part in the parliamentary debate

The UN Security Council passed seven resolutions between 2006 and 2015 requiring Iran to stop producing enriched uranium - which can be used for civilian purposes, but also to build nuclear bombs.

Four of the resolutions imposed sanctions in an effort to persuade Iran to comply.


Key areas of the nuclear deal:

Uranium enrichment: Iran can operate 5,060 first generation centrifuges, configured to enrich uranium to 3.67%, a level well below that needed to make an atomic weapon. It can also operate up to 1,000 centrifuges at its mountain facility at Fordow - but these cannot be used to enrich uranium.

Plutonium production: Iran has agreed to reconfigure its heavy water reactor at Arak, so that it will only produce a tiny amount of plutonium as a by-product of power generation, and will not build any move heavy water reactors for 15 years.

Inspections: International monitors will be able to carry out a comprehensive programme of inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities.

Possible military dimensions: Iran will allow foreign inspectors to investigate the so-called "possible military dimensions" to its programme by December. This should determine whether the country ever harboured military ambitions for its nuclear programme - a claim it has always strenuously denied.

Sanctions: All EU and US energy, economic and financial sanctions, and most UN sanctions, will be lifted on the day Iran shows it has complied with the main parts of the deal.


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