Iran, world powers reach historic N-deal

Iran, world powers reach historic N-deal

Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations with an agreement that could transform West Asia.

US President Barack Obama hailed a step towards a “more hopeful world” and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said it proved that “constructive engagement works”. But Israel pledged to do what it could to halt what it called a “historic surrender”.

The agreement will now be debated in the US Congress, but Obama said he would veto any measure to block it. “This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction,” said Obama. “We should seize it.”

Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

Iran will mothball for at least a decade the majority of its centrifuges used to enrich uranium and sharply reduce its low-enriched uranium stockpile.

The agreement is a political triumph for both Obama, who has long promised to reach out to historic enemies, and Rouhani, a pragmatist elected two years ago on a vow to reduce the isolation of his nation of almost 80 million people.

Both face scepticism from powerful hardliners at home in nations that referred to each other as “the Great Satan” and a member of the “Axis of Evil”.

“Today is the end to acts of tyranny against our nation and the start of cooperation with the world,” said Rouhani in a televised address. “This is a reciprocal deal. If they stick to it, we will. The Iranian nation has always observed its promises and treaties.”

Delighted Iranians took to the streets, honking car horns and flashing victory signs in celebration after the announcement a deal they hope will end years of sanctions and isolation.
For Obama, the diplomacy with Iran, which was begun in secret more than two years ago, ranks alongside his normalisation of ties with Cuba as landmarks in a legacy of reconciliation with foes that tormented his predecessors for decades.

Still, Washington's friends in the region were furious, especially Israel, whose prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cultivated a close relationship with Obama's Republican opponents in the Congress.

“Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world,” he said. “Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons.”

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