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Iran sanctions to remain in place until after final deal: US officials

US officials said that the US fact sheet circulated after last week's landmark deal was not agreed upon by all sides
Iranian and US officials have clashed over the specifics of lifting economic sanctions in place for decades (AFP)

A US spokesman on Thursday contradicted Iranian leaders who demanded that sanctions against Iran be lifted immediately after a final deal is inked. 

"Under the agreed-upon parameters, sanctions will be suspended in a phased manner upon verification that Iran has met specific commitments under a finalised joint comprehensive plan of action," said State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke.

US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have also said Iranian sanctions would be gradually removed. 

Iran reached a deal last week with world powers on a framework for curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.

However, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei challenged US officials’ understanding of the talks on Thursday, saying there would be no final agreement unless all economic sanctions targeting its economy are lifted immediately after the deal is signed. 

The differences in understanding were not limited to officials. Fact sheets on the deal released by Washington and Tehran also differed with respect to the sanctions. 

When asked about the differences, Rathke said the fact sheets represented understandings about what was agreed on in the Swiss city of Lausanne, rather than a negotiation paper. 

"It wasn't a negotiated fact sheet. [It] was released by the United States based on, you know, we told them what we were going to, you know, talk about the agreement publicly, but it wasn't a negotiated document," he said.

The fact sheet was circulated minutes after President Barack Obama announced the "historic" agreement. 

Rathke conceded that Iranians did not agree to the specifics of the fact sheet. "It isn't like we had a process of negotiating that specific piece of paper," he said.

Ayatollah Khamenei gave a speech on Thursday, marking Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day, in which he accused Washington of “lying and breaching promises” by circulating the fact sheet shortly after the framework deal was announced.

But Rathke said he would not analyse Iranian statements or Tehran’s understanding of the landmark deal.

"We're not going to react to every public statement made by Iranian officials," he added.

Negotiators have until 30 June to reach a final agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme and the lifting of economic sanctions that have stifled the country’s economy for decades.

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