Iran nuclear deal expected to be announced in Vienna

The Iran nuclear deal marks the culmination of 12 years of on-off diplomacy, and potentially the beginning of a new era in relations between Iran and the West.

An announcement on the agreement would come on the 18th day of almost uninterrupted negotiations in Vienna , involving foreign ministers from seven countries and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

The ministers – from Iran, the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany – are expected to issue a statement and appear for a photo mid-morning, followed some time later by a press conference.

At some point President Obama and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, will make statements from their capitals.

It is not clear how much of the estimated 100 pages of text, including five annexes, will be published on Tuesday. Much of the outline of the agreement is already known, having been provisionally settled in Lausanne in April.

It involves Iran accepting curbs on its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, but many of the critical, politically-charged details will only be made public on Tuesday.

In particular, it will become clear whether the arms embargo and missile programme restrictions on Iran will remain in place and at what point the agreement will be codified as a UN security council resolution.

The full agreement, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action, is likely to come under instant and ferocious attack from its opponents – mostly in the US, Iran and Israel – but its defenders portray it as one of the most important arms control accords of modern times and a rare diplomatic success in the Middle East.

On Monday, the Iranian president’s office was forced to delete a premature tweet in his name that appeared to welcome a nuclear agreement which had yet to materialise.

The deleted tweet on the English-language account under president Hassan Rouhani’s name declared: “#IranDeal is the victory of diplomacy & mutual respect over the outdated paradigm of exclusion & coercion. And this is a good beginning.”

Soon after, a new tweet was posted in its place, adding the word ‘if’ at the beginning.

As the Monday evening target came and went, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, appeared on the balcony of the hotel venue and faced shouted questions from the journalists in the street below.

Asked how he was feeling, Zarif replied: “Sleepy and overworked.” Asked if there would be a deal on Tuesday, he said: “It is possible.”

Once an agreement is announced, it will not take effect for some time : it must first survive a trial by fire from its critics in Washington and Tehran.

The greatest hurdle will be the US Congress, where Republicans have a majority and are expected to vote against the deal after a review period of up to 60 days. They will seek to win over 12 Democrats in an attempt to defeat a presidential veto. – © Guardian News and Media 2015

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Julian Borger
Julian Borger
Julian Borger is a British journalist and non-fiction writer. He is the world affairs editor at The Guardian. He was a correspondent in the US, eastern Europe, the Middle East and the Balkans and covered the Bosnian War for the BBC. Borger is a contributor to Center of International Cooperation.

Tension over who’s boss of courts

In a letter, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questions whether Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has acted constitutionally

SABC sued over ‘bad’ clip of Ramaphosa

A senior employee at the public broadcaster wants compensation for claims of ‘sabotage’

Soundtrack to a pandemic: Africa’s best coronavirus songs

Drawing on lessons from Ebola, African artists are using music to convey public health messaging. And they are doing it in style

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories