EU hails 'courage' of Iran deal, urges implementation

BRUSSELS (AFP) - European Union (EU) President Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday hailed the "courage" shown by Iran and world powers in their deal to curb Teheran's nuclear programme, but also urged its "punctual" implementation.

"It is now crucial to ensure punctual implementation of the agreement reached and to continue working, on the basis of the trust that is being built, towards a definitive settlement of this issue," Mr Van Rompuy said of the agreement which offers Iran in exchange limited sanctions relief.

Details of actions and timetables concerning International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections of the most sensitive uranium-enrichment sites and the un-blocking of sanctions potentially worth billions of oil dollars have yet to fully emerge.

But as Teheran and the West work "towards providing assurances that guarantee the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme", Mr Van Rompuy expressed his conviction that "addressing effectively this question will have significant regional and global effects".

"It will reduce political tensions, contribute to build trust and support the promotion of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

Praising "the commitment and courage by all parties, including by Iran under newly-elected President (Hassan) Rouhani", Mr Van Rompuy also bestowed special praise on the EU's foreign affairs chief and lead-negotiator Catherine Ashton, for her "crucial role".