Historic deal

July 15, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN – After 12 years Iran and six major world powers finally agreed on a final and comprehensive nuclear pact.

The deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has been described as historic by world leaders and the nuclear negotiators. It has also been called the most important event of the 21st century that involved all great economic and military powers and blocs.

Immediately after the announcement of the deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama took the opportunity to air their views about the deal.

Rouhani said the deal proved that “constructive engagement works”.

Rouhani also said Iran sought four objectives in the nuclear talks and all of them have been achieved.

The first objective was to continue its nuclear activities, the second was to remove “wrong and cruel” sanctions, the third was to annul all the “illegal” the sanctions resolutions in the UN Security, and the fourth was to remove Iran’s nuclear dossier from the agenda of UN Security Council, Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani stated that 12 years of illusions and disinformation about Iran’s nuclear activities came to an end and now a new chapter has been opened in Iran’s relations with the world.

He also said all through the process of nuclear talks Iran was insisting that a “win-lose” agreement will not last and that only a “win-win” agreement will be long lasting.

The president also said that under the nuclear agreement Iran will have six thousands centrifuges that five thousands of which will operate in the Natanz facility and more than a thousand in Fordo.

All the centrifuges in Natanz will continue enriching uranium and those in Fordo will be used for nuclear research and development, he explained.

Rouhani went on to say that all the sanctions, including arms embargo, will be removed on the day of implementing the agreement which will go into force about two months later.

He noted that the implementation of the agreement is reciprocal and Iran will be committed to the agreement if the other side lives up to its commitments.

The president went on to say that the main achievement of the talks is the establishment of a new atmosphere to expand international relations.

--------Obama warns Congress he would veto any measure to block nuclear pact----

President Obama hailed the deal as a step towards a “more hopeful world”. But Israel said it would do what it could to kill a deal that it called an “historic surrender”, Reuters reported.

The agreement will now be debated in the U.S. Congress, but Obama said he would veto any measure to block it.

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

Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on its nuclear program.

The agreement is a momentous political victory for both Obama, who has long promised to reach out to historic enemies, and Rouhani, a pragmatist elected two years ago on a promise to resolve the nuclear dispute with the West through dialogue and more nuclear transparency.

Both leaders face skepticism from powerful hardliners at home, after decades of enmity between nations that referred to each other as “the Great Satan” and a member of the “Axis of Evil”.

For Obama, the diplomacy with Iran, begun in secret more than two years ago, ranks with his normalization of ties with Cuba as landmarks in a legacy of reconciliation with foes that tormented his predecessors for decades.

“History shows that America must lead not just with our might but with our principles,” he said in a televised address. “Today’s announcement marks one more chapter in our pursuit of a safer, more helpful and more hopeful world.”

While the main negotiations were between the United States and Iran, the four other UN Security Council permanent members, Britain, China, France and Russia, are also parties to the deal, as is Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “a bad mistake of historic proportions”.

“Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world,” he said. “Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons.”

His deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, called the deal an “historic surrender” and said on Twitter that Israel would “act with all means to try and stop the agreement being ratified”, a clear threat to try to use its influence to block it in the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.

Congress has 60 days for a review, though if it rejects the deal, Obama can use his veto. 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 their president’s signature achievements in order to kill the deal.

Republicans lined up against it. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina, called it a terrible deal that would make matters worse.

Iran is not likely to receive many of the benefits from the lifting of sanctions for months because of the need to ratify the deal and verify its fulfillment. But once implementation is confirmed, it will immediately gain access to around $100 billion in frozen assets and to the international financial system, allowing it to resume sales of oil that had been drastically curtailed.

The final round of talks in Vienna involved nearly three weeks of intense negotiation between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

That would once have been unthinkable for two countries that have barely spoken since 1979.

------------- Zarif says the Iran nuclear deal opens ‘new chapter of hope’

“I believe this is an historic moment,” Zarif, who studied in the United States and developed a warm rapport with Kerry, told a news conference. “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.”

Kerry said, “This is the good deal we have sought.”

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who acted as coordinator for the powers, said it could “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.”

Obama first reached out to Iranians with an address in 2008, only weeks into his presidency, offering a “new beginning”. But he followed this up with a dramatic tightening of financial sanctions, which, combined with sanctions imposed by the EU, have imposed severe economic hardship on Iranians since 2012.

-------- ‘Snapback mechanism’

Obama said Iran had accepted a “snapback” mechanism, under which sanctions would be reinstated if it violated the deal. A UN weapons embargo is to remain in place for five years and a ban on buying missile technology will remain for eight years.

Alongside the deal, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced an agreement with Iran to resolve its own outstanding issues by the end of this year. The main deal depends on the IAEA being able to inspect Iranian nuclear sites and on Iran answering its questions about possible military aims of previous research.

While Saudi Arabia did not denounce the deal publicly as Israel did, Saudi officials expressed doubt in private.

“We have learned as Iran’s neighbors in the last 40 years that goodwill only led us to harvest sour grapes,” a Saudi official who asked to remain anonymous told Reuters.

But there is also a strong reason for the United States to improve its relations with Iran, as the two countries face a common foe in Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Sunni Muslim militant group that has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq.

For Iran, the end of sanctions could bring a rapid economic boom by lifting restrictions that have halved its oil exports, and shrunk its economy by about 20 percent, according to U.S. estimates. The prospect of a deal has already helped push down global oil prices because of the possibility that Iranian supply could return to the market.

“Even with an historic deal, oil from Iran will take time to return, and will not be before next year, most likely the second half of 2016,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at London-based consultancy Energy Aspects, told Reuters. “But given how oversupplied the market is with Saudi output at record highs, the mere prospect of new oil will be bearish for sentiment.”

---------Iran, IAEA agree on roadmap to resolve nuclear issues-----

On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the news of agreement with Iran, which was announced by President Rouhani, the Middle East Monitor reported.

Iran and the IAEA have agreed on a road map to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue, Rouhani announced Tuesday.

“Just now, Iran and the IAEA agree to accelerate cooperation with aim to fully resolve all prior issues,” Rouhani tweeted from his official account (@HassanRouhani).

The IAEA confirmed the agreement with Iran. “IAEA & Iran signed today a ‘Road-map for clarification of past & present outstanding issues regarding Iran’s #nuclear program’,” the IAEA tweeted from its official account (@iaeaorg).

Both Twitter accounts also posted pictures from the official signing ceremony held in the Austrian city of Vienna.

Yukiya Amano, director general IAEA, also addressed a press conference in front of the hotel where the nuclear talks are being held. “This is a significant step forward,” Amano said.

He said that Amano and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, signed the “Roadmap to Clarify the Outstanding Past and Present issues” in Iran’s nuclear program.

He added that a final assessment about possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear activities would be completed by Dec. 15, 2015.

He also clarified that the IAEA had made a separate agreement with Iran over the country’s Parchin military site.

According to Iran’s news agency IRNA, the director general also said that the agreement was within the red lines specified by Iran.


Rouhani said Iran sought four objectives in nuclear talks:
The first objective was to continue nuclear activities, the second was to remove “wrong and cruel” sanctions, the third was to annul all the “illegal” the sanctions resolutions in the UN Security, and the fourth was to remove Iran’s nuclear dossier from the agenda of UN Security Council.