Iran’s parliament approves nuclear deal with world powers

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Iran’s parliament on Tuesday approved the nuclear deal struck with six world powers in July, local media reported.

The historic accord eased years of tensions between Tehran and Western powers suspicious that its nuclear programme is geared to produce a bomb – an allegation Iran denies.

The deal is to result in the lifting of sanctions on Iran, once Tehran scales down its civilian nuclear programme and answers questions by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about a dozen suspect research and development projects that were conducted in the past.

Tehran also promised to allow IAEA inspectors access to its military facilities under certain circumstances.

The inspections of military facilities had been among the main points of contention in the long-running negotiations.

According to Western intelligence reports, Iran is said to have conducted nuclear tests at several sites.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency reported that lawmakers voted 161 to 59 to approve the “general outlines” of a plan that allows the administration to begin implementing the deal. Thirteen lawmakers abstained.

Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif was present at the vote, the agency reported. Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry were the lead negotiators in the nuclear talks.

Hardliners in both Iran and the United States had threatened to derail the deal.

But last month US President Barack Obama secured enough votes in the Senate to ensure that the agreement with Iran cannot be blocked by Congress. Lawmakers have until September 17 to vote on it.

Sceptical members of Congress, including some in Obama’s own party, say the deal’s nuclear oversight measures do not go far enough and would allow Tehran to acquire a weapon once key provisions expire.

The deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was signed between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

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