WASHINGTON -- Iran and six world powers said Sunday they have agreed on a plan of implementation for their first-phase nuclear deal, a sign the fragile effort to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions remains on track.
The implementation agreement, worked out in a month of talks between technical experts and diplomats, will lay out how the group will carry out their plan to limit Iran's nuclear progress while they try to negotiate a long-term agreement.
Officials of the United States, Iran and the European Union hailed the agreement as another step forward. However, the details of the agreement are key, and it was not immediately clear whether the terns for Iran were strict or conciliatory.
Iran and the six powers signed a preliminary agreement Nov. 24 that was written in vague statements that left much to be argued out later.
Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the implementation agreement as a "critical, significant step" toward reaching a deal that will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb making capability.
He said the agreement means the two sides will be able to start implementing the deal Jan. 20, on schedule with their past expectations.
He added: "I have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed."
Abbas Araqchi, the Iranian's chief negotiator, said negotiations for a longer term deal probably will start about two or three weeks after the implementation begins, according to Iran's officially controlled press.