Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the Iranian nuclear deal would be dead if the U.S. Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they do not take effect for six months, Time Magazine reported on Monday.
In a transcript of the interview, which was conducted on Saturday and posted online on Monday, Time said it asked Zarif what happens if Congress imposes new sanctions, even if they don't go into effect for six months.
According to the magazine, he replied: "The entire deal is dead." Zarif was referring to a November 24 agreement with six world powers under which Tehran would curb its nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions.
Some American senators have been discussing the idea of imposing new sanctions on Iran that would kick in after six months or if Iran violated terms of the interim deal reached in Geneva.
The agreement was negotiated between Iran and the so-called P5+1 - the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
The six powers plan expert-level talks next week to work out details of implementing a breakthrough agreement for Tehran to curb its disputed nuclear program in return for a limited easing of sanctions.
Officials from Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia are to meet on Dec. 9-10 in Vienna, where the UN nuclear watchdog agency is based, diplomats said on Friday.
The International Atomic Energy Agency - which will be tasked with verifying that Iran carries out its part of the interim accord - "will have some involvement" in the meeting, IAEA spokeswoman Gill Tudor said, without elaborating.
Western diplomats said the experts must iron out nitty gritty matters of implementation not addressed in Geneva before the deal can be put into practice.
These include how and when the IAEA will conduct its expanded inspections and other technical issues.
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