Iran struck a historic deal with six world powers yesterday, agreeing to a temporary freeze of its nuclear program in the most significant agreement in more than three decades of estrangement.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani endorsed the agreement, which commits Iran to curb its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for limited and gradual sanctions relief, including access to US$4.2 billion from oil sales. The six-month period will give diplomats time to negotiate a more sweeping agreement.
The package includes freezing Iran’s ability to enrich uranium at a maximum 5 percent level, which is well below the threshold for weapons-grade material and is aimed at easing Western concerns Tehran could one day seek nuclear arms.
US President Barack Obama hailed the pact’s provisions, which include curbs on Iran’s enrichment and other projects that could be used to make nuclear arms, as key to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat. “Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb,” he told reporters in Washington.