The Latest On Iran Deal: Obama Says Deal Provides New Way Forward
The United States and five world powers have reached a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.
As we've reported, the deal puts restrictions on Iran's nuclear program and also sets up an inspections regime that aims to make sure Iran is meeting its obligations. In exchange, the U.S. and its European partners have agreed to drop tough sanctions, allowing Iran to sell more oil and rejoin international financial systems.
We've got a broad outline of the news at another post. Here, we'll keep up with all the updates that emerge throughout the day. Make sure to refresh this page for the latest:
Update at 8:51 a.m. ET.: Will Fuel An Arms Race
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner issued a scathing rebuke of this deal, saying it is "likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world."
Like many other critics of the deal, Boehner said that under the terms announced today, Iran will still be allowed to enrich uranium, and the deal does not outright dismantle Iran's nuclear facilities.
In a written statement, Boehner said in part:
"At the outset of these talks, the Obama administration said it would secure an agreement that affirmed Iran does not have a right to enrich and permanently dismantles the infrastructure of its nuclear programs. It said that sanctions would not be lifted until Iran met concrete, verifiable standards. And if these terms were not met, the president promised he would walk away.
"The American people and our allies were counting on President Obama to keep his word. Instead, the president has abandoned his own goals."
Boehner concluded: "We will fight a bad deal that is wrong for our national security and wrong for our country."
Remember, Congress will have two months to review the deal. This statement appears to set up a tough legislative fight between the White House and a Congress controlled by Republicans.
Update at 8:07 a.m. ET: 'Historic Mistake'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already expressed his displeasure about the deal.
On Twitter, he said: "From the initial reports we can already conclude that this agreement is a historic mistake."
Netanyahu has been opposed to this deal ever since the interim deal was signed in 2013. The prime minister delivered a speech in front of the U.S. Congress warning that the deal would guarantee Iran a nuclear weapon because it doesn't outright dismantle the country's nuclear infrastructure.
Update at 7:39 a.m. ET: Increases Breakout Time
Speaking from Vienna, Secretary of State John Kerry echoed President Obama.
"This is the good deal that we have sought," Kerry said.
The bottom line, Kerry said, is that this deal increases Iran's so-called breakout time — or the time it could take Iran to make enough material for a nuclear bomb.
According to Kerry, once the agreement is implemented, Iran's breakout time goes from two to three months to one year or more.
Kerry also said the deal:
-- Allows Iran to enrich uranium but to no more than 3.67 percent, which is needed for civilian purposes but is much lower than what's needed for a weapon.
-- Iran has agreed to turn its Fordow facility, which is essentially an underground bunker, into a research facility where Iranian and world scientists will work side by side.
-- The Arak heavy-water reactor, which could have been capable of starting production on weapons-grade plutonium, will be rebuilt using a design approved by the international community. That design will make the production of weapons-grade plutonium impossible, Kerry said.
Update at 7:17 a.m. ET: An Opportunity For A New Direction
In a speech from the White House, President Obama said that quite simply this deal keeps Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
According to Obama, the deal cuts off "every pathway" Iran has to get to a nuclear weapon. It also: removes two-thirds of Iran's centrifuges; includes a commitment from Iran not to use its advance centrifuges for a decade; and limits Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium for 15 years.
The deal also gives international inspectors what Obama said was 24/7 access to Iran's nuclear facilities.
"That means this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification," Obama said.
Not having a deal, Obama added, would actually allow Iran to inch closer toward attaining a nuclear weapon and would make a military confrontation with Iran more likely.
"We give up nothing by testing whether or not this problem can be solved peacefully," Obama said.
The president said his administration would brief Congress on all the details of the deal, but he warned that it would "irresponsible to walk away from this deal."
The agreement, Obama said, makes the region and world safer.
"This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction," Obama said. "We should seize it."
Update at 6:59 a.m. ET: A Good Deal
Announcing the deal in Vienna, Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs, said the deal meant Iran accepted that its nuclear program would remain "exclusively peaceful" and that it would "never seek to acquire a nuclear weapon."
"We delivered on what the world was hoping for: a shared commitment for peace," she said.
She added: "What we are announcing today is not only a deal; it's a good deal."
Update at 6:41 a.m. ET: Obama's Speech
While the deal represents a breakthrough — one that leaves behind decades of animosity and years of tough negotiations and secret talks — this is far from over, because the agreement still has to be approved by various world capitals.
President Obama is scheduled to speak at 7 a.m. in an effort to begin trying to sell the deal to the American people and a recalcitrant Republican Congress, which has two months to approve the deal.
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