British Foreign Secretary William Hague 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jeff Overs-BBC/handout)
LONDON - Israel should avoid taking any action that would undermine the interim nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.
"We would discourage anybody in the world, including Israel, from taking any steps that would undermine this agreement and we will make that very clear to all concerned," Hague told parliament.
Hague, who gave an update on the nuclear talks in Geneva , added he had not seen any signs that any country opposed to the agreement would try to disrupt it "in any practical way" but said Britain would be "on its guard".
He was speaking after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday denounced the nuclear deal as an "historic mistake". Netanyahu is sending his national security adviser
to Washington for talks about the agreement.
Hague told parliament he hoped a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Tehran could be reached within a year, but warned that world powers could swiftly reverse any sanctions relief they had granted Iran if Tehran reneged on the deal.
Meanwhile French and EU officials said on Monday that the EU could relax some sanctions on Iran as soon as next month.
EU foreign ministers will meet in December to discuss a proposal from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to ease sanctions, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.
"We are proposing a lifting of the sanctions, but it will be limited, targeted and reversible," Fabius told Europe 1 radio. Asked when sanctions could start to be lifted, he added: "It will begin in December."
Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann said that the timing would be coordinated with Iran since it was up to both sides to keep their bargain and it was not yet clear when decisions could be taken to change sanctions legislation.
"It could be in December, it could be in January, it depends how long the legislative process takes," Mann told reporters in Brussels.
The breakthrough deal reached on Sunday between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia offer's Tehran limited relief from international sanctions in exchange for halting its most sensitive nuclear work.
The West fears that Iran has been seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability. The Islamic Republic denies that, saying its nuclear program is a peaceful energy project.