World Powers Sign Deal With Iran

Obama hails step toward 'more hopeful world'

VIENNA: Iran and six major world powers reached a historic deal on Tuesday following well over a decade of negotiations between the Islamic Republic and five permanent members of UN Security Council and Germany.

The deal that will see the P5+1 group of nations - the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany - relieving sanctions against Tehran in exchange for its slashing of weapons grade uranium, was announced at a press conference attended by foreign ministers of the above mentioned countries here.

"The decision that we are going to take today not only on Iran's nuclear program but is much more than this, it is a decision that can open the way to a new chapter in international relations. It's a sign of hope for the entire world," said the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini.

The breakthrough came at the end of a long night of negotiations in the Austrian capital, where representatives gathered in June to find a permanent accord after a framework agreement was struck in April.

It brings to a successful end a decade-long diplomatic effort that seemed to have suffered an eleventh-hour setback yesterday as last-minute disagreements are said to have revolved around the lifting of a UN arms embargo and terminology used to described Iran's nuclear activities.

“This is an historic day also because we are creating the conditions for building trust and opening a new chapter in our relationship,” said a statement read by EU foreign policy chief.

The statement acknowledged the difficulty of negotiations over the past years, adding, “But despite all twists and turns of the talks, and the number of extensions, hope and determination enabled us to overcome all the difficult moments.”

It described the conclusion of talks as a “good deal for all sides – and the wider international community.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the deal as the opening of a "new chapter of hope" suggesting that it will form the cornerstone for further cooperation between Iran and its negotiation partners on other issues affecting the international community.

"I believe this is a historic moment," he said. "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."

Zarif also stressed this was a long-sought solution for an “unnecessary crisis”; the politicization — essentially by the US — of a scientific, technical dossier.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Steinmeier, for his part, was euphoric; “A historic day! We leave 35 years of speechlessness + more than 12 years of a dangerous conflict behind us.”

Israel however reacted angrily at the news, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing it as 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," Netanyahu said.

The conclusion will, according to Iranian officials, be presented to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which will adopt a resolution in seven to 10 days making the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) an official document.

Based on the conclusion the world powers recognize Iran’s civilian nuclear program, including the country’s right to the complete nuclear cycle.

The UNSC sanctions against the Islamic Republic, including all economic and financial bans, will be lifted at once under a mutually agreed framework and through a new UN resolution.

None of the Iranian nuclear facilities will be dismantled or decommissioned, Press TV quoting diplomats reported.

Furthermore, nuclear research and development activities on all types of centrifuges, including advanced IR-6 and IR-8 machines, will continue.

The nuclear-related economic and financial restrictions imposed by the United States and the EU targeting the Iranian banking, financial, oil, gas, petrochemical, trade, insurance and transport sectors will at once be annulled with the beginning of the implementation of the agreement.

The arms embargo imposed against the Islamic Republic will be annulled and replaced with certain restrictions, which themselves will be entirely removed after a period of five years.

Additionally, tens of billions of dollars in Iranian revenue frozen in foreign banks will be unblocked.

President Barack Obama addressed the American people from the White House after the official announcement of the conclusion of talks.

"Today after two years of negotiation the United States together with the international community has achieved something that decades of animosity has not,” Obama said with Vice President Joe Biden at his side.

The US president warned a skeptical Congress that “no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East.”

Obama said he would veto any legislation from lawmakers that "prevents the successful implementation of the deal."

The conclusion is viewed as the most significant foreign policy achievement for the Obama administration.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also commented on the agreement, saying “a new chapter has begun in relations with the world.”

 “We were following four objectives in these negotiations..During today’s agreement and under this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all the four objectives have been achieved,” Rouhani said in a televised address on Tuesday after the conclusion of talks.

He enumerated the objectives as Iran’s ability to go ahead with its nuclear activities, lifting of “cruel and inhumane sanctions”, annulment of all “illegal” sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council against Iran and the exit of Iran’s nuclear dossier from the Security Council. 

The Iranian president added that resistance of the Iranian nation guaranteed their victory in the nuclear talks.

"Today, we are at an important juncture in the history of our country and our revolution and the situation in the region," Rouhani said.

He said some powers had had some illusion over the past 12 years regarding Iran, however, “a new page has been turned and a new chapter has begun.”

"Iran will honor the agreement, if the other side abides by it," the Iranian president said, adding that the Iranian nation always keeps it promises.

Rouhani said as a result of the talks, all sanctions imposed on Iran including financial, banking ones will be fully lifted and not suspended.

"Iran has never been and will never be seeking nuclear weapons," irrespective of the agreement, Rouhani said.

The Iranian president said the major world powers have today recognized Iran’s right to its nuclear program.

Oil Prices Fall 

SINGAPORE: Oil prices turned volatile Tuesday after Iran and six world powers reached an accord that clears the way for Tehran to unleash its oil onto world markets at levels not seen since the West imposed energy-related sanctions in 2012.

Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, oil futures initially tumbled as much as 2% in early trading before paring losses later in the day. Brent was trading down 0.3% at $57.60 a barrel after dropping as low as $56.43. WTI fell as low $50.88 a barrel after recovering and rising 0.1% to $52.25.

Brent crude is an international oil benchmark that reflects global prices and any related turmoil, whereas WTI is focused on the North American market.

Iran has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves with about 157,530 million barrels, or 10% of the world's proven oil stores, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, of which it is a member.

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