U.S. President Barack Obama says a framework agreement reached at talks on Iran’s nuclear program is “a good deal” that would, if fully implemented, prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (APRIL 2, 2015) (NBC) – – Iran and world powers reached a framework agreement on Thursday (April 2) on curbing Iran’s nuclear program for at least a decade after eight days of marathon talks in Switzerland.
The tentative agreement clears the way for talks on a future comprehensive settlement that should allay Western fears that Iran was seeking to build an atomic bomb and in return lift economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement the outcome was a good deal, comparing it to nuclear arms control deals struck by his predecessors with the Soviet Union that “made our world safer” during the Cold War.
“Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached an historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he declared.
Under the outline deal, Iran would shut down more than two-thirds of its centrifuges producing uranium that could be used to build a bomb, and dismantle a reactor that could produce plutonium and accept intrusive verification.
“After many months of tough principled diplomacy we have achieved the framework for that deal,” Obama said.
The framework, fiercely opposed by U.S. ally Israel, includes limits on Iran’s enrichment of uranium for 10 years.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif cautioned however that deal is still some time from reaching where the parties want to be.
A Western official said the sides had agreed that the comprehensive settlement would require Iran to dilute or ship abroad most of its stocks of enriched uranium, and leave just 6,000 out of the 19,000 centrifuges it operates for enrichment.
The deal wrapped up eight days of talks, extended after a deadline of midnight on Tuesday, aiming to achieve a political accord that could serve as the basis of a final deal by June 30.
Western countries say enriched uranium can be used to make a weapon, which they aim to prevent. Iran says it wants it only for a peaceful nuclear energy program.
The talks were the biggest opportunity for rapprochement between Washington and Tehran since they became enemies after Iran’s 1979 revolution, but any deal faces skepticism from conservatives in both countries. U.S. allies in the Middle East are also skeptical, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia.