News / Middle East

Obama Calls Iran Nuclear Agreement Important First Step

U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about an agreement reached with Iran on its nuclear program at the White House in Washington, Nov. 23, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about an agreement reached with Iran on its nuclear program at the White House in Washington, Nov. 23, 2013.
U.S. President Barack Obama says the agreement reached Sunday between Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, will substantially curb Iran's nuclear program and cut off Iran’s most likely paths to an atomic bomb, in exchange for modest but reversible relief from international sanctions.

Obama said the agreement halts Iran's nuclear program for the first time in nearly a decade, and rolls back key parts of it, paving the way for the next phase of negotiations.

He said the election of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani earlier this year created an opening for intensive diplomacy pursued by the United States and its partners.

The president said, "Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure - a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon."

A written White House statement detailed what will occur in the first phase, including Iran's commitment to halt enrichment of uranium above the 5 percent level, and to neutralize its stockpile of near 20 percent enriched uranium.

The statement says Iran agrees to not install additional centrifuges of any type, including next-generation centrifuges of major concern to the international community.  Centrifuges are used to enrich uranium.

Iran also agreed to leave inoperable roughly half of installed centrifuges at the nuclear site at Natanz, and three-quarters of installed centrifuges at Fordow.

President Obama said Iran has also committed to stopping work at its plutonium reactor at Arak, the focus of intense concern by those opposed to Iran's nuclear ambitions.  There will be "intrusive monitoring" of Iran's nuclear program, including daily inspections at Natanz and Fordow.

In return, Iran receives what the agreement calls limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible relief from sanctions.  Obama stressed that this modest relief is conditioned on Iran following through on its commitments.
"If Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six month phase, we will turn off the relief, and ratchet up the pressure," said the president.
Obama said the next phase will be aimed at negotiating a comprehensive solution, and involve what he called the basic understanding that Iran, like other nations, should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy.  

But he said, Iran's record of violating obligations makes it necessary for it to accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that will make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon.

"In these negotiations, nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to," said Obama. "The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be exclusively for peaceful purposes."

Obama said if Iran seizes this opportunity, it can begin to chip away at mistrust with the United States and have a path for a new beginning with the wider world.  If it does not, it will face growing pressure and isolation.

The president also sought to address concerns of Israel and U.S. partners in the Gulf, saying they have "good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions."

And he again appealed to members of the U.S. Congress not to move forward with new sanctions, saying doing so would "derail this promising first step" alienate U.S. allies, and "risk unraveling the coalition that enabled sanctions to be enforced on Iran in the first place."

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Kehinde Philip from: Nigeria
November 24, 2013 10:58 AM
Israel should not worry,. Only trust the God o your. fathers. In book of Isaiah 35vs4, 41vs10, 54vs17. Fear not Israel fear not Benjamem Netanyahu.

by: Dr. Hans from: Germany
November 24, 2013 10:41 AM
History has a way to prove such stupidity for what it really is... remember Chamberlain...?? there are regimes with which we shouldn't bargain with. They are the axis of evil... truly.
The Iranian clerical fascistic regime considers its own citizenry as imbecilic. it is against the depravity of such regimes we have bonded in collective security. And now, Obama, and his uniquely stupid Kerry, have guaranteed the survival of this particularly revolting regime. in Europe, nobody understand where this Obama is coming from or where he plans to go... the whole Western alliance is floundering. The US is actively promoting the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood... they openly spurn their closet Arab friends... they muzzled Israel from any preemptive strike... I don't know what it is... but something is drastically wrong with Obama...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs