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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs