NEW: Iran's foreign minister says Iran retains the right to nuclear technology
NEW: But it does not retain the right to enrich uranium, Secretary of State John Kerry says
The deal includes substantial limitations to prevent the creation of nuclear weapons, Obama says
The deal follows marathon talks that stretched into early Sunday morning
A historic deal was struck early Sunday between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program that slows the country’s nuclear development program in exchange for lifting some sanctions while a more formal agreement is worked out.
The agreement – described as an “initial, six-month” deal – includes “substantial limitations that will help prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a nationally televised address.
The deal, which capped days of marathon talks, addresses Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, what to do about its existing enriched uranium stockpiles, the number and potential of its centrifuges and Tehran’s “ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium using the Arak reactor,” according to a statement released by the White House.
Iran also agreed to provide “increased transparency and intrusive monitoring of its nuclear program,” it said.
There was no immediate reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has consistently asked the West to be wary of any deals with Iran.
However, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yubal Steinitz reiterated the Israeli government stance when he said Sunday morning that the last-second amendments put into the agreement are “far from satisfactory.”
“This agreement is still bad and will make it more difficult than before to achieve an appropriate solution in the future,” he said.
Obama warned that if Tehran violates terms of the deal, “We will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure.”
You can be sure that President Obama will speak to Prime Minister Netanyahu” on Sunday about the Iran agreement,
A senior administration official said Obama will speak with Netanyahu sometime Sunday.
“Ultimately, we understand why Israel is particularly skeptical about Iran,” the official said, adding, “This is not simply about trusting the Iranian government. There are strict verification measures.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the deal an opportunity “to avert an unnecessary crisis.”
Zarif said he hopes the nuclear agreement will lead to “concrete steps” to improve relations between Iran and Western powers.
As part of the deal, according to Zarif, Iran retains the right to nuclear technology, including the enriching of uranium under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – which requires it not to create nuclear weapons or enable other countries to obtain them.
Iran has agreed to what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described as “unprecedented international monitoring” of its nuclear program.