The United States, Iran and other world powers reached a historic nuclear deal early Tuesday, putting to end an 18-day spate of intense negotiations as well as months of talks, discussions and debates marked by missed deadlines and criticisms from Israel.
President Obama in a 7 a.m. news conference, during which he looked directly into the lens of the cameras, said: “This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and immediate change. … Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region.”
He said the forged deal is a win-win, and assured “every pathway to nuclear weapon is cut off.”
Among its specifics he cited: Iran is halted from producing highly enriched, nuclear grade plutonium; Iran will have to remove two-thirds of its centrifuges and store them under constant supervision; Iran can’t use its centrifuges for the next ten years; and Iran will have to modify its reactor in Iraq so it can’t produce weapons grade plutonium.”
Obama also guaranteed U.N. weapons inspectors would have access to visit Iran’s military sites and check for compliance with the deal.
“This deal is not built on trust,” Obama said. “It is built on verification. Inspectors will have 24-hour access to Iran’s key nuclear buildings.”
But a senior nuclear official said if IAEA inspectors must first petition Iran for permission to visit the sites 14 days in advance.
In return, Iran gets $18 billion in international sanctions’ relief. Obama said the sanctions’ relief will be phased in, as verification of compliance with the accord is achieved.
The deal also includes a caveat that if Iran fails to disable its centrifuge machines within 65 days, the sanctions go back in place.
What’s sure to be a controversial sticking point on Capitol Hill and in Israel especially is the facet of the deal that allows for Iran to stall IAEA inspectors from accessing suspected sites.
Critics are already lining up, saying the $18 billion gives Iran an open door to continue its terror activities around the world. And Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, called the accord a path for Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
“Sadly the administration just lit a fuse for a nuclear arms race in the Middle East,” he said in a statement. “[It] allows for controlled nuclear proliferation.”
Iran has already positioned itself to take advantage of the sanctions relief. In the hours leading up to the announced deal with the six world powers, Tehran’s biggest oil-shipping company was already prepping to hit the European and international markets, as WND previously reported.
Obama said the deal will be solidified with a U.S. Security Council resolution, after Congress and the American people have a chance to review it. He also issued a warning, telling Congress that while he welcomes members’ input and discussion, a failure to approve the plan would leave the world in peril.
“Consider what happens in a world without this deal,” he said. “No deal means a greater chance for more war in the Middle East. … It would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal. I welcome robust debate in Congress on this issue … but I veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.”
Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking from Vienna, Austria, assured the deal would clamp Iran’s ability to enrich uranium well below the level needed to manufacture a weapons. He also said Iran’s Fordow site will be “transformed into a nuclear physics and technology center” that will be “subject to daily inspection.”
Kerry, like Obama, also spoke of the verification benefits and confirmed the sanctions’ relief only starts when Tehran meets key conditions of the accord.
“This agreement has no sunset,” Kerry said. “Inspectors will be able to gain access to any [facility] the IAEA … deem suspicious.”
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