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Iran parliament passes bill supporting nuclear deal

Members of parliament in Tehran have approved a bill that supports implementing a nuclear deal Iran signed with six world powers in July. The bill can now be formally put into action.

The motion to approve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was passed with 161 members voting in favor, 59 against and 13 abstaining, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

However, the country's leaders insisted that international inspectors would have only limited access to Iran's military sites. They also said that international inspections to the country's nuclear sites be approved by Iran's constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, suggesting that there could be disagreements in future.

Officials said sanctions on Iran would be lifted either by the end of this year or January 2016 at the latest. The country will also have to assure the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. The international body will submit a report on "ambiguities" over Tehran's nuclear past by December 15.

Support for the deal

Iran agreed to limit its nuclear capabilities in an agreement with the P5+1 - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the UK, the US, Russia, France and China, plus Germany - in July. In return, economic sanctions on Tehran were to be lifted.

In a joint statement with the EU's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, on July 14, Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, hailed the moment as "historic." Both leaders said they were "creating the conditions for building trust" and that Iran would "under no circumstances" be able to build a nuclear weapon.

However, the deal was seen as a threat by conservative politicians in the US Congress, who tried to torpedo the agreement in a house vote in September this year.

In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani and his team aggressively sought support for the pact after Iran's atomic energy agency chief, Ali Akbar Saleh, was accused of siding with the West. Rouhani's government justified the agreement, saying its proponents had protected Iran's future by ensuring that economic sanctions would end.

mg/kms (Reuters, AFP)

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