Iran, Major Powers Agree Historic Nuclear Deal

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Major powers clinched a historic deal Tuesday aimed at ensuring Iran does not obtain the nuclear bomb, opening up Tehran's stricken economy and potentially ending decades of bad blood with the West.

Reached on day 18 of marathon talks in Vienna, the accord is aimed at resolving a 13-year standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions after repeated diplomatic failures and threats of military action.

It was hailed by Iran, the United States, the European Union and NATO but branded a "historic mistake" by Tehran's archfoe Israel.

U.S. President Barack Obama said the accord meant "every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off."

"This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it," he said in an address to the nation.

He vowed to veto any Congressional effort to block the deal, reached between Tehran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Underscoring the tectonic shift in relations, Iranian state television broadcast Obama's statement live, only the second such occasion since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in his own address that "God has accepted the nation's prayers" and that the accord would lift "inhumane and tyrannical sanctions."

"Iran will never seek a nuclear weapon, with or without the implementation" of the Vienna deal, he added.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the agreement as "a sign of hope", while Russian President Vladimir Putin said the world had "breathed a huge sigh of relief."

Syrian President Bashar Assad, a close ally of Iran, called the agreement a "great victory."

French President Francois Hollande said "the world is making headway", while NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called it a "historic breakthrough" and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed it as "an important success" of international diplomacy.

Hundreds of Iranians poured onto the streets of Tehran to celebrate after the Ramadan fast ended at sundown.

"Maybe the economy is going to change, especially for the young people," said Giti, a 42-year-old woman.

- Stringent U.N. oversight -

The deal limits Iran's nuclear activities for at least a decade and calls for stringent U.N. oversight, with world powers hoping this will make any dash to make an atomic bomb virtually impossible.

In return Iran will get sanctions relief although the measures can "snap back" into place if there are any violations.

The international arms embargo against Iran will remain for five years with deliveries only possible during that time with permission from the U.N. Security Council, diplomats said.

Tehran has accepted allowing the U.N. nuclear watchdog tightly-controlled access to military bases, an Iranian official said.

Iran will slash by around two-thirds the number of centrifuges, which can make fuel for nuclear power but also the core of a nuclear bomb, from around 19,000 to 6,104.

Painful international sanctions that have cut the oil exports of OPEC's fifth-largest producer by a quarter and choked its economy will be lifted and billions of dollars in frozen assets unblocked.

World oil prices fell Tuesday following the breakthrough, with U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery down $1.05 (0.95 euros) at $51.15 (46.46 euros).

The agreement is Obama's crowning foreign policy achievement in six years, and the fruit of Rouhani's bid since his election in 2013 to end Iran's isolation.

The agreement may lead to more cooperation between Tehran and Washington at a particularly explosive time in the Middle East with the emergence last year of the Islamic State group, which controls swathes of Syria and Iraq.

- Decades of enmity -

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the deal paves the way for a broader coalition to fight IS, a common enemy of the West and Iran in the Middle East.

But erasing decades of hostility will be tough, and the prospect of better U.S.-Iran relations alarms Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab states, which accuse Shiite Iran of stoking unrest in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

Reflecting the concerns, a senior U.S. official said Obama would soon speak to Israeli and Saudi leaders.

In what was seen as a thinly veiled threat of strikes against Iranian nuclear sites, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned: "We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands."

Obama's Republican opponents who control Congress will have 60 days to review the agreement, during which time Obama cannot waive Congressional sanctions.

The opponents, backed by legions of lobbyists, are set to launch a campaign to try to override a presidential veto and scupper the deal.

House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said Tuesday the agreement was "likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world."

Even if the agreement gets past Congress -- the Iranian parliament and the U.N. Security Council also have to approve it -- implementing the accord could be a rough ride.

France said it expected Security Council approval "within days," while a U.S. official said a resolution could be introduced next week.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog will have to verify that Iran does indeed scale down its facilities before the U.N., U.S. and EU lift their sanctions.

Comments 19
Thumb whyaskwhy 14 July 2015, 12:48

God help us on what could be sold and what could be bought as part of this deal. One way or another through Kizb we will pay a price for this in Lebanon.

Missing mohammad_ca 14 July 2015, 20:18

A deal with the Great Satan...whatever happened to "Death to America" lol

Default-user-icon woops (Guest) 14 July 2015, 13:43

Great Satan no more.

Thumb eagledawn 14 July 2015, 14:55

it is now azizi Obama;)

Thumb farsical.resistance 14 July 2015, 15:14

No worries they will always need a Great Satan. The ISlamic Republican guards and their mercs the ISlamic resIStance in Lebanon cannot survive without one, it's visceral. Be it the Saudis, Qatar (thank you Qatar no more, for now) etc

Default-user-icon man (Guest) 14 July 2015, 18:01

Neh the laughing guy is thinking what most Iranians are thinning "at last I can throw away the cardboard and shoe leather stew and start feeding my family actual food."

Thumb Mystic 14 July 2015, 13:55

Seems like the West in confusion finally realized, that it is Iran that creates stability in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, being the strongest Anti-ISIS/Qaeda country in the region.

Thumb ashtah 14 July 2015, 15:05

"Iran being the strongest Anti-ISIS/Qaeda country in the region."
when was the last time ISIS attacked the strongest anti-ISIS/Qaeda country in the region? All we see is ISIS attacking the countries that you and nassrallah claim to have been aiding and funding ISIS!

Thumb Mystic 14 July 2015, 15:13

The U.S and Saudi Arabia/GCC countries, created a monster they couldn't control to remove Assad from power.
Even though the Saudis still funds these takfiris elements to counter the Resistance.
They are many takfiris hope to achieve victory over Iran, which you have failed so far.
ISIS also tried to invade Iran from the Pakistani border, which they also failed to succeed.

Sad truth for you is ashtah, you mostaqbalis acts to be all moderate, but in real life you eat from the same dusty gulf hands as the ISIS and Al Nusra/Qaeda does.

Thumb Mystic 14 July 2015, 17:46

If you are referring to the Shia mosque in Eastern Saudi Arabia, then I know it was staged by the Saudi Monarchs to spread fear among their minority sects inside the country.

If anyone dares speaking up against their regime, then they will use ISIS as their enforcers. Like paving the way for ISIS to destroy that Mosque and in Kuwait aswell.

Thumb sophia_angle 14 July 2015, 14:10

khalas it has been settled Faris Said for president.

Thumb justin 14 July 2015, 14:18

FPM chief MP Michel Aoun via Twitter: The nuclear deal with Iran is a promising step towards peace in the Middle East.

I wonder how he concluded that?

Thumb liberty 15 July 2015, 05:32

what a lunatic....! before you worry about peace in the middle east, worry about going to parliament and elect a president...

Thumb justin 14 July 2015, 14:17

Death to Amreeka, Deal with Amreeka;)

Thumb eagledawn 14 July 2015, 14:54

Oh good news, it means mowaten will now accept the U.S offer of an American passport that he declined years ago;)

Missing bigjohn 14 July 2015, 17:12

Israel is NOT concerned about Iran having NUKES. Israel have been saying that Iran is ONLY months away from having NUKES for the last 30 years. If Iran or (any other country) uses nukes today or in the future, it is ONLY if it is under military attack and its existence is ONLY in danger MILITARILY. If Iran gets nukes, they WILL not use them against occupied Palestine (Israel) because the Palestinian densely populated concentration camps are to close to the Zionist settlements, and the Palestinians will be killed. Israel is opposed to this agreement ONLY because it will remove the economic damage that has been inflicting Iran.

Missing bigjohn 14 July 2015, 17:19

The western leaders are telling Israel that they will not damage their economies by high oil prices and go to war in the middle east ONLY for Israel. Israel and the hated puppet dictators are ONLY concerned that at least some of the economic benefits for Iran under this agreement will be used to resist Israeli aggression and domination and resist their Arab collaborators.

Missing bigjohn 14 July 2015, 17:52

Higher oil prices or higher than they would be when Iran oil exports doubles under this agreement!

I can not believe NAHARNET allows vulgar dumb morons writing comments like juvenile delinquents (this shows how low Naharnet and m14 supporters have become)

Missing mohammad_ca 14 July 2015, 20:20

But you claimed that Qaida and ISIS and Saudi are US allies and now your vilayet e faqih has made a deal with the Great Satan so how does that work ya ghabi