Six world powers - the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany - have reached an agreement with Iran to limit Iranian nuclear activity in exchange for the lifting of international oil and economic sanctions. The agreement was struck at a conference in Vienna after 20 months of negotiations.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the deal “historic” and believes it will open a “new chapter” in Iran’s relations with the world.
The group of world powers, called P5+1, wants Iran to downscale nuclear activity to ensure it cannot construct nuclear weapons. Iran, however, has maintained that its nuclear activity has always been peaceful and has strongly protested the various sanctions placed on it.
US President Barack Obama has long sought the agreement, said to be the biggest diplomatic achievement of his career, after decades of animosity between the US and Iran. He said the deal ensures “every pathway to a nuclear weapon” is cut off for Iran.
In an appearance at the White House, Obama sought to ease the worries of the American public and US congress, saying that the agreement is “not built on trust — it is built on verification”.
There has been some resistance from the US congress and conservatives in Iran. The congress is currently beginning a 60-day review of the deal, which it may attempt to block. However, Obama stood strongly against critics of the deal saying that, if congress resists, he will “veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal”.
John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the US house of representatives said that the deal would “embolden” Iran. Boehner argues “instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East,” the deal “is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world”.
Israel has also warned world powers about the danger of the proposed agreement. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “a stunning historic mistake” that will provide Iran with “hundreds of billions of dollars with which it can fuel its terror machine and its expansion and aggression throughout the Middle East and across the globe”.
Netanyahu said Israel would not necessarily adhere to agreement: “we will always defend ourselves”.