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Historic Deal
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Historic Deal

Iran and the major powers reached an historic nuclear deal in Vienna on Tuesday, after about 20 months of negotiations to settle a 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran's nuclear work becoming subject to temporary constraints.

The countries engaged in the negotiations with Iran were the five UN Security Council permanent members, namely the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia, plus Germany, together known as the P5+1 or the E3+3.

The foreign minister and the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the deal heralded a new chapter of hope and was a historic moment.

"I believe this is a historic moment," Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a joint news conference on Tuesday.

"We are reaching an agreement that is not perfect for anybody but it is what we could accomplish and it is an important achievement for all of us."

"Today could have been the end of hope on this issue. But now we are starting a new chapter of hope. Let's build on that," Zarif added.

Mogherini said the pact was about more than just the nuclear matter.

"It is a decision that can open the way to a new chapter in international relations and show that diplomacy, coordination, cooperation can overcome decades of tensions and confrontations."

"I think this is a sign of hope for the entire world," she added.

***Joint Statement

After a plenary meeting between the delegations of Iran and the six nations, Zarif and Mogherini read out a joint statement to announce the sealing of the comprehensive accord.

Following is an excerpt of the statement:

We, the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security policy and the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, together with the Foreign Ministers of the People's Republic of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America met here in Vienna, following several months of intensive work, at various levels and in different formats, to negotiate the text of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), based on the key parameters agreed in Lausanne on 2 April.

We have today agreed on the final text of this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The E3/EU+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran welcome this historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which will ensure that Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful, and mark a fundamental shift in their approach to this issue. They anticipate that full implementation of this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will positively contribute to regional and international peace and security. Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action includes Iran's own long-term plan with agreed limitations on Iran's nuclear program, and will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program, including steps on access in areas of trade, technology, finance, and energy.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action comprises of a main text, and five technical annexes - on nuclear, sanctions, civil nuclear energy cooperation, a joint commission, and implementation. These documents are detailed and specific: that is important because all sides wanted clarity so as to ensure the full and effective implementation of the agreement.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is a balanced deal that respects the interests of all sides. It is also complex, detailed and technical. (The deal) will be presented within the next few days by the E3+3 to the Security Council for endorsement.

We know that this agreement will be subject to intense scrutiny. But what we are announcing today is not only a deal but a good deal. And a good deal for all sides – and the wider international community.
This agreement opens new possibilities and a way forward to end a crisis that has lasted for more than 10 years. We are committed to make sure this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is fully implemented, counting also on the contribution of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We call on the world community to support the implementation of this historic effort.

This is the conclusion of our negotiations, but this is not the end of our common work. We will keep doing this important task together.

***New Chapter

President Hassan Rouhani said in a live televised speech on Tuesday Iran had always been after a win-win agreement because "win-lose talks would not have lasted."

"Negotiation is a matter of give-and-take…. We sought to have a fair give-and-take based on national interests."

The president said the deal would open a new chapter of cooperation with the outside world, predicting the gradual elimination of mutual mistrust.

He added that Iran would abide by its commitments under the agreement as long as world powers did so too, and asserted the accord protected gains made by Tehran in the nuclear program.

"Today is the end to acts of tyranny against our nation and the start of cooperation with the world," he said. "This is a reciprocal deal. If they stick to it, we will. The Iranian nation has always observed its promises and treaties."

He recalled that his election in 2013 was made possible by voters who "clearly said they want a government that protects the nuclear program and brings prosperity to the country as the same time."

Rouhani also urged neighboring countries to ignore propaganda by Israel, saying Iran had a shared interest in the stability of the region.
 
All the goals have been achieved under the deal, the president said.

"If we were asked whether the deal has been based on trust toward the P5+1, we would answer that were it the case, the 23 months of negotiations, including the 18 days of round-the-clock and non-stop talks at the latest round, would have been unnecessary."

The implementation of the deal, poses a reliability test for the other side, Rouhani said, adding, "If the deal is implemented carefully and well, it will gradually remove the wall of distrust."

"Both sides should honor their commitments under the deal," he said, stressing, "If they remain committed to the accord, so will we."   

***Roadmap Signed With IAEA

In a separate development, Iran and the United Nations nuclear watchdog announced an agreement on a roadmap to resolve outstanding issues between them by the end of this year.

Future access to the Parchin military site, which the agency had repeatedly sought, is part of a separate "arrangement", International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said.

"By 15 December 2015, the Director General will provide... the final assessment on the resolution of all past and present outstanding issues," he added.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said, "It was agreed to resolve all past issues while fully observing Iran's red lines."

***Chance for Change

US President Barack Obama heralded the agreement as an opportunity worth seizing and warned Congress he would veto any legislation that prevented its successful implementation.

Under a congressional bill, the US lawmakers would have had 30 days to review the deal if the US administration had submitted it to Congress no later than July 9.  

With the deadline missed, the Congress now has 60 days to review the deal, and if it votes to disapprove it, Obama can veto the rejection. It would require two thirds of lawmakers to override such a veto, which means some of Obama's fellow Democrats would have to rebel against one of the signature achievements of their president to kill the deal.

Obama, speaking at the White House, said the settlement was built on verification, not trust and it would be "irresponsible" to reject.

He said the deal did not resolve all of the differences between the United States and Iran, noting that Washington would maintain sanctions on Tehran for other issues.

Despite those differences, Obama said the accord was a chance for change in the region.

"This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction," Obama said. "We should seize it."

 

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