LAUSANNE – In a breakthrough agreement, Iran and world powers sealed a deal outlining limits on Iran’s nuclear program that would put an end to 12 years of hardships faced by the Islamic Republic.
“The political determination, the good will of all parties made it possible,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was quoted by Reuters on Thursday, April 2.
“This is a crucial decision laying the agreed basis for the final text of joint comprehensive plan of action. We can now start drafting the text and annexes,” said Mogherini, who has acted as a coordinator for the six powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
Curbing Iran’s nuclear activities, the tentative deal between Iran, US and other world powers would limit the country’s enrichment of uranium for 10 years.
Signed eight days after marathon talks in Switzerland, the framework will “limit Iran’s nuclear activity to the Natanz plant and reduce the number of centrifuges it operates from 19,000 today to just over 6,104”.
It also prohibits building any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium until 2030.
Until a final deal is reached by June 30, all sanctions on Iran will remain in place.
“We’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif cautioned.
With many details still needed to be worked out, US Secretary of State John Kerry said: “The political understanding with details that we have reached is a solid foundation for the good deal we are seeking.”
“We will not allow excuses that will allow a return to the old system,” Zrif was quoted by Al Jazeera.
Hailing Thursday’s agreement with the Islamic Republic, US President Barack Obama described the outcome as “a good deal”.
“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,” Obama declared.
Meanwhile, Obama assured reassured Israel and Arab States that their concerns would be addressed.
A similar praise was echoed by French President Francois Hollande.
“France will be watchful…to ensure that a credible, verifiable agreement be established under which the international community can be sure Iran will not be in a position to have access to nuclear arms,” Hollande said.
On its part, Russia said the deal would boost Iran’s role in the regions and would foster security in the Middle East.
Praising the agreement, the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “This is well beyond what many of us thought possible even 18 months ago and a good basis for what I believe could be a very good deal. But there is still more work to do.”
IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, has also welcomed the agreement, saying that his agency “will be ready to fulfill its role in verifying the implementation of nuclear related measures, once the agreement is finalized,” RT reported.
On the other, the deal was met with dismay by Israel that considered it “detached from a wretched reality”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a final deal based on this agreement “would threaten the survival of Israel”.
In November 2013, Iran and world powers signed a deal to curb its nuclear programin exchange for relief from some economic sanctions.
As part of the deal, Iran will be required to dilute its stockpile of uranium that had been enriched to 20%.
The deal also mandates Iran halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical equipment required to do that.