World leaders have reached a deal with Iran on limiting their nuclear development abilities in return for lifting international economic sanctions.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that after 23 months of negotiations, the deal opened a “new chapter” in his country’s relations with the world.
US President Barack Obama hailed the deal for making “the world safer and more secure” in blocking “every pathway to a nuclear weapon” in Iran.
The agreement, negotiated between Iran and six world powers – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – gives UN nuclear inspectors extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and includes a commitment from Iran to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities.
In return, the so-called P5+1 nations agreed to lift the international sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy for years. The precise terms of the deals have not been released, but billions of dollars of Iranian assets are expected to be unfrozen, while sanctions on oil and gas trading, aviation, shipping, and financial transactions will be lifted.
Sanctions on arms and missile imports to Iran are expected to remain for five and eight years respectively, and the other economic sanctions could be reimposed within 65 days if Iran fails to uphold its side of the agreement.
Signalling the final agreement in Vienna after months of discussions, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini tweeted:
“Iran Talks done. We have the agreement.”
“With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.”
Director General Yukiya Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) welcomed the agreement, saying:
“I congratulate Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union for reaching this joint comprehensive agreement following many months of tireless negotiations.
“I welcome this agreement which will facilitate the IAEA’s further verification work in Iran.”