World leaders voice relief

London - World leaders hailed the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, with Barack Obama seeing a "new direction" and Vladimir Putin voicing a global "sigh of relief" -- though Israel criticised it as a "historic mistake".

Major international powers who thrashed out the agreement with Tehran said they hoped Iran would build on the opportunity to come in from the cold.

Russia's President Putin hailed the deal as a "firm choice for stability and cooperation".

"The world has breathed a huge sigh of relief," he said, pledging that Moscow would "do everything in its power" to ensure the agreement worked.

Saudi Arabia expressed hope Tuesday for an end to Iran's regional "interference", while two of the kingdom's fellow Sunni-run Gulf neighbours, UAE and Kuwait congratulated Iran and expressed hope for improved relations with it.

The president of the United Arab Emirates, which has longstanding trade ties to Iran, and the emir of Kuwait, who visited Tehran last year in an effort to improve relations, each sent congratulations to Iran and expressed hope the agreement will contribute to regional security and stability.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the agreement "could serve as a vital contribution to peace and stability both in the region and beyond".

Spain, which presides over the UN Iran sanctions committee, said it would ensure the proper implementation of the agreement and hoped it would facilitate Iran's reintegration into the international community.

NATO called it a "historic breakthrough" that would strengthen global security.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the deal would help "make our world a safer place" and said Iran now had a "real opportunity" to benefit from the pact economically.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed it as "an important success" of international diplomacy, and Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel now plans to visit Iran soon.

French President Francois Hollande said "the world is making headway," urging Tehran to help world powers end the Syrian conflict.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said his key ally Iran had "achieved a historic victory", while Egypt said it hoped the deal would "prevent an arms race in the Middle East".

Iran's neighbour Afghanistan said it welcomed efforts aimed at "strengthening of peace and stability in the region", while Pakistan said that confidence-building measures over Tehran's nuclear programme "auger well" for regional security.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the deal would boost the regional economy, while his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the agreement must "be implemented for the region to reach stability".

In South America, both Brazil and Argentina expressed "satisfaction" with the deal, with the Brazil government expressing hope it could contribute to "the beginning of a new productive phase in relations between Iran and other parties".

Meanwhile the Vatican hoped the agreement would "bear fruit" which would extend beyond simply Iran's nuclear programme.

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