OTTAWA – The Canadian government is taking a wait-and-see approach to the newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran.
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the government hopes to see words backed up with actions.
Rick Roth says the government wants to see every diplomatic measure used to ensure that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon.
The agreement reached in Geneva during talks between Iran, the United States and five other world powers commits Tehran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for limited and gradual relief from crippling economic sanctions.
In a statement issued late Saturday Roth said the Canadian government appreciates “the earnest efforts” of the negotiating parties, but now it wants to see Iran act.
He said Ottawa will evaluate the accord “on the merits of its words, but more importantly on its verifiable implementation and unfettered access of all Iranian nuclear facilities.”
Roth added, “A nuclear Iran is not just a threat to Canada and its allies, but it would also seriously damage the integrity of decades of work on nuclear non-proliferation.”
U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the deal’s provisions as key to preventing Iran from proliferating. “Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,” he said.
A White House statement said the deal limits Iran’s existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, which can be turned into the fissile core of nuclear arms.
The statement also said the accord curbs the number and capabilities of the centrifuges used to enrich and limits Iran’s ability to “produce weapons-grade plutonium” from a reactor in the advanced stages of construction.
In addition Iran’s nuclear program will be subject to “increased transparency and intrusive monitoring.”
In return, the statement promised “limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible (sanctions) relief” to Iran, noting that “the key oil, banking, and financial sanctions architecture, remains in place.” And it warned that any sanctions relief will be revoked and new penalties enacted if Iran fails to meet its commitments.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined forces with foreign ministers of the nations negotiating with Iran to push the deal through early Sunday, as the talks entered their fifth day.
Kerry said the first-step deal will make Israel — an arch enemy of Iran — safer.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, said there is no reason for the world to be celebrating. He said the deal reached in Geneva is based on “Iranian deception and self-delusion.”
With files from The Associated Press