World News

Iran Hails Deal with World Powers as Recognition of Nuclear 'Rights'

Iran's leaders have welcomed a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers, calling it a recognition of Iranian nuclear rights and the beginning of an end to international sanctions.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address Sunday that the interim deal reached in Geneva earlier in the day recognizes what Iran says is its "right" to enrich uranium.

Iran says its enrichment work is for peaceful purposes. But Israel and Western powers fear Iran could enrich its uranium to the high purity needed to develop nuclear weapons.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denied Iran's interpretation of the deal reached with Washington and five other world powers. He told reporters in Geneva the document "does not say Iran has a right to enrichment."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the deal, calling it an "historic mistake" and saying it marks the first time the international community has "formally consented" to Iran continuing enrichment.

The White House says President Barack Obama telephoned Mr. Netanyahu Sunday, telling the Israeli prime minister he wants the United States and Israel to start consultations immediately on efforts to negotiate a comprehensive agreement with Iran.

Mr. Obama told Mr. Netanyahu the U.S. remains firmly committed to Israel, which he said has good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions.

Israeli leaders see a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence because of Iran's frequent calls for Israel's demise.



The six-month agreement calls for Iran to neutralize its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent - a level that is a short step away from weapons-grade. But it it does not prohibit Iran from continuing enrichment below the five percent level.

It also calls for Iran not to make further advances in building a heavy water nuclear reactor in the city of Arak. Once operational, that facility could produce plutonium, another compound used to make nuclear weapons.

In return for limiting enrichment, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany agreed to temporarily lift some international sanctions that have weakened the Iranian economy.

The United States says Tehran will gain access to $4.2 billion in revenues from Iranian oil exports and $1.5 billion in proceeds from Iranian sales of precious metals, autos and petrochemicals.

Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama said the Geneva agreement will place "substantial limitations" on Iran's enrichment and "cut off" what he called the nation's "most likely paths to a bomb." He said the deal is a "first step" toward negotiations aimed at fully addressing international concerns about the Iranian nuclear program.

Iranian leaders hailed the deal as the start of a process of ending years of sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council and Western powers in retaliation for Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment.

Iranian state media quoted Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying the agreement is a "success" attributed to "the grace of God and the prayers of the Iranian nation."

A senior U.S. official told Western news agencies that the Geneva agreement followed several months of secret bilateral talks between the United States and Iran. In comments published Sunday, the U.S. official said the talks were aimed at developing ideas to complement official negotiations involving Iran and the world powers.

The Associated Press quoted U.S. officials as saying Deputy Secretary of State William Burns began leading the secret meetings with Iranian officials in March, using Oman and other locations as venues. It said the talks intensified after Iranian President Rouhani took office in August.

President Obama's Republican critics in Congress say the nuclear deal rewards Iran without forcing it to dismantle facilities that could be used for nuclear weapons.

Some Republican senators said Congress may adopt tougher sanctions in six months if Iran does not abide by the terms of the Geneva deal.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs