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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs