World News liveblog |

World News liveblog

Reuters live coverage of events around the world. Follow @ReutersWorld on Twitter for top news and @ReutersLive for live video events.

    Comment ()

    FACTBOX - Sanctions on Iran's oil sector

    Iran and six world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations with an agreement that could transform the Middle East, and which Israel called an "historic surrender". 

    Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations would be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

    International sanctions imposed to force Iran to curb its nuclear programme have halved its oil exports to just over 1 million barrels per day since 2012, and hammered its economy.

    A complex range of restrictions have been imposed over several decades - the first of them in 1979, after Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

    But the major oil-related sanctions were imposed by the United States and the European Union in 2012 to pile pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme. The sanctions are multi-layered, and will take time to remove fully.

    Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday economic and financial sanctions will be lifted when implementation of the deal begins.

    Here is a summary of the measures currently in force, which U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has estimated have cost Iran more than $160 billion in oil revenue alone since 2012:


    American companies and individuals are prohibited from trading directly or indirectly with Iran’s oil and gas sector, the government of Iran, or individuals connected to the oil and gas sector or in any financing of it. U.S. interests are also prevented from investing in Iran’s oil and gas industries.

    U.S. sanctions can also target financial institutions that engage in transactions with the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company or its subsidiary, Naftiran Intertrade Company.

    Companies or individuals who breach the sanctions risk significant fines, asset freezes, being cut off from the U.S. dollar banking system, or even being blacklisted themselves.


    The EU has also imposed sanctions prohibiting trade with Iran’s oil sector. This includes any business with any part of Iran's energy sector or government agencies related to it and any investments in that industry.

    EU sanctions also prohibit European firms and individuals from importing or purchasing Iranian crude oil, petroleum products or natural gas, assisting in the construction of oil tankers, or supplying vessels to transport or store oil or petrochemical products.


    Iran’s oil sector has found it increasingly hard to transport oil or insure cargoes.

    EU and U.S. sanctions have blacklisted Iran’s shipping sector, including its top tanker owner NITC, meaning U.S. and European companies are prohibited from trading with it.

    NITC is Iran’s main transporter of oil. The main port operator, Tidewater Middle East Co, is also subject to sanctions, which has complicated shipments from export terminals.

    Iran has also been prohibited from securing the services of international ship classification firms, which certify that vessels have met the safety and environmental standards necessary to obtain insurance and access to ports.

    (Writing by Jonathan Saul; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Dale Hudson) 

    Comment ()
    Comment ()

    Comment ()

    Comment ()
    Comment ()
    Triumphant Rouhani faces battles at home after Iran nuclear deal

    nuclear deal with world powers on Tuesday marks a triumph for President Hassan Rouhani, an establishment insider who staked his reputation on engaging pragmatically with the West and had to see off challenges from conservative factions.

    But more battles lie ahead. He must now justify the high expectations of ordinary Iranians desperate for the end of sanctions to bring better living standards, and of the social reformists who have yet to see much in return for the votes they gave him, as conservatives fight to keep the status quo.

    Read More
    Comment ()

    EU's brokering role an essential component of today's result. This is the engaging Europe we need Well done @FedericaMog @EU_EEAS!

    — Martin Schulz (@MartinSchulz) July 14, 2015

    Comment ()

    Cooperation and respect of international norms pay off over confrontation. Now implementation of the agreement will be key #IranDeal

    — Martin Schulz (@MartinSchulz) July 14, 2015

    Comment ()

    Comment ()

    Tehran and six major world powers have reached a deal for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme drawing instant condemnation from Israel. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

    Comment ()
    Comment ()
    Iran President Rouhani welcomes nuclear deal with major powers

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday welcomed a historic nuclear deal that Iran and six major powers clinched after more than 20 months of negotiations.

    "Iran Deal shows constructive engagement works. With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges," Rouhani said on his Twitter feed.
    Comment ()
    Iran's Khamenei lent cautious support to pursuit of nuclear deal

    Iran and the West could not have agreed a nuclear deal this week without the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who set aside his deep mistrust of the United States to end decades of Iranian isolation.

    Iran and world powers reached a deal on Tuesday on curbing Iran's nuclear programme for at least a decade in exchange for sanctions relief, bringing an end to 12 years of brinkmanship, threats and confrontation on the issue.

    Read More
    Comment ()
    Iran to conduct R&D for advanced centrifuges in first 10 years of deal

    Iran will be allowed to conduct research and development (R&D) with uranium for advanced centrifuges during the first 10 years of a nuclear agreement with major powers, according to the text of the deal posted on the Russian foreign ministry website.

    "Iran will continue to conduct enrichment R&D in a manner that does not accumulate enriched uranium," the text of the agreement said. "For 10 years and consistent with its enrichment R&D plan, Iran's enrichment R&D with uranium will only include IR-4, IR-5, IR-6 and IR-8 centrifuges.

    "Mechanical testing on up to two single centrifuges for each type will be carried out only on the IR-2m, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, IR-6s, IR-7 and IR-8."
    Comment ()

    (From L to R) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

    Comment ()
    Comment ()

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers joint statements to the media in Jerusalem July 14. REUTERS/Ahikam Seri/Pool

    Comment ()
    German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier (L), French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (2ndL), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (4thL), EU Deputy Secretary General for the External Action Service Helga Schmid (8thL), European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (C), U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (5thR), Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (4thR) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) meet in Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks, in Vienna, Austria July 13, 2015. 

    by jamillah.knowles edited by Reuters_LindaNoakes 7/14/2015 9:42:28 AM
    Comment ()
    Comment ()

    Comment ()

    Comment ()

    Comment ()

    Comment ()
    Turkish energy minister says Iran deal could unlock investment

    Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Tuesday the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers was a "very positive development" that could unlock investment in the Islamic Republic.

    Turkey is a major importer of Iranian gas. Its imports from Iran were nearly $10 billion in 2014 while its exports totalled around $4 billion.
    Comment ()

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd R), U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2nd R) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (R) meet at the Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Joe Klamar/Pool

    Comment ()
    Comment ()

    Comment ()
    IRNA: Economic, financial sanctions on Iran to be lifted when deal implementation starts

    Billions of dollars of Iran's assets will be unfrozen under a nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

    "Economic and financial sanctions imposed by the EU, U.S. will be lifted when implementation of the deal begins ... Bans or restrictions on economic cooperations with Iran will be lifted in all the fields including investment on oil and gas. Billions of dollars of Iran’s frozen assets will be released ... bans on Iran’s aviation will be lifted after three decades, bans on Iran’s central bank, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), Iran Air and many other institutions and people will be lifted," IRNA said in what it said was a summary of the deal, without citing a source.

    "Bans to buy certain dual-use machinery and technology will end. Iran can get what it needs through a joint commission between Iran and P5+1 ...- Iran’s arms embargo will be lifted. Some new restrictions will be replaced. Iran can import and export arms case by case. These restrictions are only for five years."
    Comment ()

    I think the work of the Nobel Committee of the Norwegian Parliament this year just got much easier.

    — Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) July 14, 2015

    Comment ()
    Comment ()
    Comment ()
    Comment ()
    IAEA says agreed roadmap with Iran to resolve nuclear issues by year end 

    VIENNA, July 14 (Reuters) - The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed a roadmap with Iran on Tuesday aimed at resolving all outstanding questions about the country's nuclear programme by the end of the year, the IAEA's director general said on Tuesday.

    The agency's announcement came hours after diplomats told Reuters that an historic political deal on curbing Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for easing sanctions had been reached. (Full Story)

    Allowing the IAEA to issue a final report on the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran's past nuclear activities will be a precondition to significant sanctions relief, diplomats say.

    "By 15 December 2015, the Director General will provide... the final assessment on the resolution of all past and present outstanding issues," the IAEA's Yukiya Amano said.

    For months, Iran had been stalling a UN probe into the possible military aspects of its past nuclear activities, relating mostly to the period before 2003, saying the agency's data for its investigation was fabricated. (Full Story)

    Future access to Iran's Parchin military site, which the agency had repeatedly sought, is part of a separate "arrangement", Amano added.

    Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told Iran's ISNA news agency that the country's red lines had been respected with regard to international access to Parchin.

    (Reporting By Shadia Nasralla and Parisa Hafezi; editing by John Irish and Janet McBride) 

    Comment ()
    IRNA says - Bans on Iran to buy certain dual-use machinery and technology will end under the deal and that arms embargo will be lifted, some new restrictions will be replaced, Tehran can import, export arms 'case by case'. The state news agency says that EU, US economic and financial sanctions on Iran will be lifted when implementation of the deal starts.
    Comment ()
    IRNA (Iranian state news agency) says - Sanctions on Iran's central bank, national Iranian oil company, shipping lines, Iran air and many other institutions and people will be lifted under the deal.
    Comment ()
    Vienna - Iran's state news agency says billions of dollars of Iran's frozen assets will be released under the nuclear deal.
    Comment ()

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (C) briefs French journalists at Palais Coburg, the venue for nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. Iran has accepted a so-called "snapback" plan that will restore sanctions in 65 days if it violates a deal agreed with six world powers to curb the country's nuclear programme, diplomats told Reuters on Tuesday. REUTERS/Joe Klamar/Pool

    Comment ()

    VIENNA - Iran's state news agency IRNA said on Tuesday the country's nuclear facilities would remain operational under a deal reached between Tehran and six major powers.

    "All of Iran's nuclear facilities will continue working. None will be stopped or eliminated ... Iran will continue enrichment ... Research and development on key centrifuges (IR6, IR-5, IR4, IR 8) will continue," IRNA said in what it said was a summary of the deal, without citing a source.

    Comment ()
    Nuclear deal seen boosting Iran's economy, not regional aggression 

    BEIRUT - An expected influx of cash from an easing of sanctions after a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers looks likely to be directed mainly at reviving a moribund economy rather than increasing Iranian assertiveness.

    The critics of the deal, including most Gulf Arab governments and Israel, contend that Iran has made no secret of its determination to expand its influence across the region. (Full Story) (Full Story)

    Yet it is the economy where Iran is feeling most pain, and growth and jobs are the things that President Hassan Rouhani promised to deliver when he was elected in 2013 on a ticket of ending Iran's isolation.

    “The priorities of Iran are definitely on the economic side,” said Walter Posch, an Iran expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “There is so much to do in Iran, to repair and to fix.

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said recently that Iran’s GDP had shrunk by up to 20 percent because of sanctions. He also said the Islamic Republic had lost more than $160 billion in oil revenue since 2012.

    Despite being Iran’s most lucrative industry, the oil and gas sector is so run-down that it cannot even refine enough gasoline to cover Iran's own needs.

    Potential investors are queuing at the gates, waiting for sanctions to be lifted so that they can team up with local partners to build up Iran's infrastructure.

    “There are going to be a lot of foreign companies,” said William O. Beeman, an Iran expert at the University of Minnesota who recently returned from a three-week trip to Iran. “You couldn’t go anywhere in the country and not run into a gaggle of potential foreign investors. They’re everywhere.

    All this economic activity, if it generates jobs and stabilises prices, will help Rouhani to justify his drive to end Iran's international isolation.

    Royal Dutch Shell, whose debt to Iran accounts for about $2 billion of the $150 billion or more estimated to be frozen or blocked overseas under sanctions, said last month that it had held meetings with Iranian officials in Tehran.


    Car and aerospace firms have also approached Iranian companies about potential deals, with French and German firms leading the way. (Full Story) (Full Story)

    But the president is not the sole power in Iran. The Revolutionary Guards, the most powerful military force in the country, also play a big economic role, and will undoubtedly benefit hugely from the influx of investment. 

    It is principally the Guards who, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, have sought to project Shi'ite Iran's influence across the Middle East, putting it at odds with a rival bloc of Sunni powers allied with Saudi Arabia.

    In the past four years, Iran has sent military advisers, fighters, cash and weapons to support the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. And Hezbollah, Iran’s oldest proxy group in the region, has received more funds and weapons from the Islamic Republic as it has taken a leading role supporting Assad's forces in Syria.

    In neighbouring Iraq, Iranian military advisers have played a key role in helping the Shi'ite-led government and Shi'ite militias to push back the broad territorial advances of the Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State.

    Iran also gives political support to the Shi'ite Houthis who have seized much of Yemen, and to the restive Shi'ite majority in Sunni-ruled Bahrain, although it denies arming the Houthis or encouraging rebellion in Bahrain.

    In a letter to Rouhani two weeks ago laying out policy goals for the government's development plan, Khamenei said at least 5 percent of the national budget should be allocated to defence to "increase defence capabilities at the regional power level for achieving interests and national security”. Most NATO countries spend less than 3 percent of GDP on defence.

    Yet analysts say it is hard to imagine Iran expanding these activities even further, even if the prospect of more money to pay for expensive operations in Iraq and Syria will be welcome.

    “I know the American rhetoric that says, ‘Oh, if we make a deal with Iran, Iran is going to exert its hegemonic forces throughout the region’,” said Beeman.

    “I just don’t see it. Iran is already a presence everywhere in the region and I don’t see how this is going to change.


    Analysts point to Hezbollah as an example of how Iran keeps tight control over its allies and exerts influence pragmatically.

    Since the end of a 34-day war in 2006, Hezbollah and Israel have not had a serious confrontation.

    Even after an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general was killed, along with the son of a revered Hezbollah commander, in an Israeli strike inside Syria in January, Hezbollah held back from firing rockets at Israeli cities and risking a new flare-up, perhaps wary of fighting two wars at once.

    "The Iranians are shrewd politicians and they are rational political actors. And so is Hezbollah," said Hilal Khashan, a political science professor at the American University of Beirut who has studied Hezbollah extensively.

    "Hezbollah does not fight losing battles. It fights when it is assigned by the Iranians, based on rational Iranian decisions."

    For their part, the Iranians see themselves as a stabilising force. Last month, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif set out in the Harvard International Review how he thought countries should confront Islamic State - a battle where Tehran and Washington awkwardly find themselves fighting a common enemy.

    Mansour Haqiqatpour, deputy head of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said in an interview that a nuclear deal would not change Iran's contribution to stability in the region, and that better economic ties would help this.

    “We already have good cooperation in economic matters and other fields with other countries,” Haqiqatpour said. “If the obstacles (sanctions) are removed, then these ties can grow.

    Khashan said Iran's power brokers had come round to a rational view that constant tension with the West, including the United States, was not in Iran's wider interests.

    “They want to build the infrastructure of modernity and they want to play a leading role in regional politics," he said. "These are extremely important to Iran. They want to put an end to the tensions.

    (Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
    Comment ()
    Vienna - Iranian state news agency IRNA says all Iranian nuclear facilities will continue working under nuclear deal and that enrichment, research and development on key centrifuges will continue.
    Comment ()
    Iran nuclear chief Salehi says Tehran's red lines have been respected on international access to Parchin - ISNA news agency.
    Comment ()
    Vienna - Iranian official tells state TV 'We have a good deal' with major powers.
    Comment ()
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement

Putin says Russia will follow up fast after Ukraine call with Biden

MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia would send ideas to Washington within a week to follow up his talks with U.S. President Joe Biden on the Ukraine crisis.