President Barack Obama Thursday hailed a tentative agreement struck between six world powers and Iran that would limit Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation.
“The United States together with our allies and partners has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama said from the Rose Garden of possibly reaching a final agreement before the June 30 deadline.
“It is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives. This deal is not based on trust. It is based on unprecedented verification.”
U.S. officials said the initial understanding represented a major breakthrough in talks that stalled in Switzerland in recent days.
However, many questions remain as both the Iranians and Western powers begin drafting the terms of a lasting accord, including how quickly sanctions would be lifted and how weapons inspectors could ensure that Iran was living up to the parameters of the deal.
Iran will reduce approximately two-thirds of its of its installed centrifuges, a reduction from about 19,000 installed today to 6,104. Only 5,060 of them will enrich uranium for 10 years. All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage. Iran has also agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
It will redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak based on a design approved by the P5+1 negotiators. It will not produce weapons grade plutonium,
IAEA inspectors are supposed to have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, speaking to reporters after the announcement of the framework, said, “None of those measures include closing any of our facilities. The proud people of Iran would never accept that.”
He also said that Iran expects the U.S. and E.U. sanctions will be ended in a way “so that people will not get into trouble with their legal institutions.”
“We have stopped a cycle that was not in the interest of anybody,” he said.