This story has been updated.
President Obama on Thursday announced a potentially historic nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the culmination of intense negotiations between the United States, Iran and several world powers.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Obama stressed that the deal — which none of the parties involved have yet formally agreed to — represented the best possible path to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“Sanctions alone could not stop Iran’s nuclear program, but they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts, the world stood with us,” Obama said. “Today, after many months of tough principle diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal.
“And it is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives,” the president added.
As part of the unprecedented framework, the Iranian government has agreed not to stockpile materials it could use to build a nuclear weapon. In exchange, the United States and several world powers have agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions placed on it by the international community.
The president said that sanctions placed on Iran “for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program” will remain in place.
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Lausanne, Switzerland, said that the final agreement “will not rely on promises, it will rely on proof,” saying that diplomatic relations moving forward will depend on Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.
Both the president and Kerry stressed that Iran will be under close scrutiny moving forward.
“If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it,” Obama said. “With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. So, this will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb.”
President Obama has made the negotiations between Iran, six major world powers and the European Union a centerpiece of his foreign policy, investing any final outcome with major potential benefits and risks.
The pact came after an all-night work session that extended well past the talks’ original deadline of March 31. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf tweeted Thursday afternoon, “For those keeping track, it’s 6am in Lausanne. That was truly an all-nighter.”
Obama had been slated to leave early Thursday afternoon to deliver an economic speech in Louisville, but remained in the White House as the deal in Lausanne, Switzerland coalesced.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted just before 1 p.m. ET, “Solutions on key parameters of Iran #nuclear case reached. Drafting to start immediately, to finish by June 30th.”
Before coming out to speak Obama spoke separately with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
According to a statement released by the White House, “The leaders affirmed that while nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.”
As Obama’s motorcade made its way to Joint Base Andrews shortly after the speech large, cheering throngs stood along the route through the Mall and along the Tidal Basin. At 3:21 p.m. the motorcade arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, roughly three hours behind schedule, and the president jogged up the stairs to Air Force One as he prepared to take off on the flight to Kentucky.
Jose DelReal contributed to this report.
Washington (CNN) Six world powers led by the United States announced on Thursday a framework deal with Iran limiting its nuclear program. The agreement outlines major points to be flesh out in a final deal, the details of which have to be worked out by the end of June. Negotiators in Lausanne, Switzerland, twice extended the talks past Tuesday’s deadline for a framework because of deep differences between the parties. So what exactly did they finally agree to? Here are 7 key points, as conveyed by U.S. officials.
Iran would have to reduce its total of about 19,000 centrifuges — 10,000 of which are still spinning today — down to 6,104 under the deal, with only 5,060 allowed to enrich uranium over the next 10 years. Centrifuges are tube-shaped machines used to enrich uranium, the material necessary for nuclear power — and nuclear bombs.
2. Uranium enrichment
Iran’s centrifuges will only enrich uranium to 3.67% — enough for civil use to power parts of the country, but not enough to build a nuclear bomb. That agreement lasts 15 years. And Tehran has agreed not to build any new uranium enrichment facilities over that period as well. The 3.67% is a major decline, and it follows Iran’s move to water down its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium last year. In addition, Iran will reduce its current stockpile of 10,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium to 300 kilograms for 15 years.
3. Breakout time
The period of time that it would take for Iran to acquire the material it needs to make one nuclear weapon, currently assessed at two to three months, would be extended to about one year under the deal. That yearlong breakout period would be in place for at least 10 years.
4. Fordow facility
Iran’s Fordow nuclear reactor would stop enriching uranium for at least 15 years. It will not have fissile material at the facility, but it will be able to keep 1,000 centrifuges there. Fordo, one of the country’s biggest reactors, is buried more than 200 feet under the side of a mountain and was hidden from the international community until the U.S. revealed it in 2009.
5. Research and development
Iran can continue its research and development on enrichment, but that work will be limited to keep the country to its breakout time frame of one year. Though Iran will be required to make changes at a number of its facilities — including reducing centrifuges and rebuilding a heavy water reactor in Arak — the country will get to maintain its current facilities.
Iran will be required to provide inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, access to all of its declared facilities so that the agency can ensure there is no potential for military-related developments. That includes access to Parchin, an Iranian military facility related to its nuclear program. Western countries have been seeking unfettered access throughout Iran, not just declared facilities, as Iran has previously conducted nuclear work in secret.
7. Sanctions lifted
The United States and the European Union would lift their nuclear-related sanctions on the Iranian economy — a priority for Iran — after a U.N. watchdog verifies it has taken key steps. If there are violations, the sanctions will snap back into place. U.N. sanctions will also be lifted when Iran completes its nuclear-related steps, though some peripheral restrictions will be contained in a new Security Council resolution. International reductions in purchases of Iranian oil and increased isolation of the Middle Eastern country had squeezed its economy in recent years, and the lifting of those sanctions could bring the country major financial rewards.
Tabacco: We have all heard Israel’s Netanyahoo pontificating against ANY IRAN DEAL because he is a Politician, whose own Status is more important to him than World Peace!
And besides he’s been singing that same old song since 1992 with various predictions of how long it will take before Iran has Nukes. The Trouble with Netanyahoo is his own Duplicities: he declines to acknowledge his own Nukes! Sounds like the ‘Pot calling the Kettle Black’ to me!
Then we have the OPPOSITION aka Republican Party! These guys have spent the last 6+years in
Whatever Obama Proposes, the GOP Disposes!
So Netanyahu and the Republican Party are perfectly willing to accept World War III for POLITICAL REASONS! To compare these Birds to Hitler and the Nazis is unfair because the Nazis are Dead & Gone.
Would that Netanyahoo and the GOP were in the same Situation! The entire planet would be much better off if they were!
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People