Skip navigation

Historic nuclear framework deal with

Islamic Republic

Associated Press

April 2, 2015 

 

‘If Iran cheats, the world will know it’: Obama lauds ‘historic’ nuclear framework deal with Islamic Republic

 President Barack Obama heralded a framework nuclear understanding with Iran as an “historic” agreement that could pave the way for a final deal that would leave the U.S., its allies and the world safer.

The United States, Iran and five other world powers on Thursday announced an understanding outlining limits on Iran’s nuclear program so it cannot lead to atomic weapons, directing negotiators toward achieving a comprehensive agreement within three months.

“I am convinced that if this framework leads to a comprehensive deal, it will make our country and our world safer,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a press conference on Thursday.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon, Obama said the agreement “is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.” He said verification mechanisms built into the framework agreed to in Switzerland hours earlier would ensure that “if Iran cheats, the world will know it.”

Obama has invested significant political capital in the nuclear negotiations. The talks have strained the U.S. relationship with Israel, which sees Tehran as an existential threat, and deepened tensions with Congress.

Reading out a joint statement, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said a “decisive step” after more than a decade of negotiations had been achieved. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif followed with the same statement in Farsi. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the top diplomats of Britain, France and Germany also briefly took the stage behind them.

In a tweet, Kerry said there was an agreement “to resolve major issues on nuclear program. Back to work soon on a final deal.”

Mogherini said the seven nations would now start writing the text of a final accord. She cited several agreed-upon restrictions on Iran’s enrichment of material that can be used either for energy production or in nuclear warheads. She said Iran won’t produce weapons-grade plutonium.

 Crucially for the Iranians, economic sanctions related to its nuclear programs are to be rolled back after the UN nuclear agency confirms compliance.

Israeli leaders voiced concerns about the announced deal between Iran and world powers, demanding that it “significantly” roll back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program and vowing to fight the agreement before it is finalized in the coming months.

Obama said that he would talk to Netanyahu later on Thursday.

In Lausanne, Kerry said in a tweet that there was agreement “to resolve major issues on nuclear program. Back to work soon on a final deal.” He was expected to brief reporters later Thursday.

Mogherini said the seven nations would now start writing the text of a final accord. She cited several agreed-upon restrictions on Iran’s enrichment of material that can be used either for energy production or in nuclear warheads.

Crucially for the Iranians, economic sanctions related to its nuclear programs are to be rolled back after the U.N. nuclear agency confirms compliance.

Zarif told reporters the agreement would show “our program is exclusively peaceful, has always been and always will remain exclusively peaceful,” while not hindering the country’s pursuit of atomic energy for civilian purposes.

“Our facilities will continue,” he said. “We will continue enriching, we will continue research and development.” He said a planned heavy water reactor will be “modernized” and that the Iranians would keep their deeply buried underground facility at Fordo.

“We have taken a major step but are still some way away from where we want to be,” Zarif said, calling Thursday’s preliminary step as a “win-win outcome.”

Israeli leaders, deeply concerned about Iran’s intentions, were much less positive.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a final agreement “must significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear capabilities and stop its terrorism and aggression.”

Mogherini said Iran’s heavy water reactor wouldn’t produce weapons-grade plutonium and that Fordo wouldn’t be a site for enrichment of uranium, which can be used for nuclear weapons.

The officials spoke following weeklong talks that were twice extended past a March 31 deadline for a preliminary deal. Although the U.S. pushed for concrete commitments, the Iranians insisted on a general statement of what had been accomplished. Negotiators worked concurrently on documents describing what needs to be done for the final agreement.

The U.S. and its five partners want to curb Iran’s nuclear technologies so it cannot develop weapons. Tehran denies such ambitions but is negotiating because it wants economic sanctions imposed over its nuclear program to be lifted.

Washington, in particular, faces strong domestic pressure. Critics in Congress are threatening to impose new sanctions over what they believe is a bad deal taking shape and the Obama administration needed to make as many details public as possible to sell the merits of its diplomatic effort.

The final breakthrough came after a day after a flurry of overnight sessions between Kerry and Zarif, and meetings involving the six powers.

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: