Saturday, April 4, 2015
Rouhani: 'Nuclear deal is first step towards new relationship with the world'
Joy in the streets of Tehran after the breakthrough was announced. (Photo EPA)
Iran's president Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that a framework for a nuclear deal was just the first step toward building a new relationship with the world. In a televised speech he said the nuclear talks were just the start of a broader policy of opening up. "This is a first step towards productive interactions with the world. Today is a day that will remain in the historic memory of the Iranian nation," he added. "Some think that we must either fight the world or surrender to world powers. We say it is neither of those, there is a third way. We can have cooperation with the world."
U.S. President Barack Obama also hailed the agreement, which was the most significant step towards rapprochement between the twio countries since the Iranian revolution of 1978, as a "historic understanding". Diplomats, however, cautioned that hard work lies ahead to strike a final deal.
The tentative agreement, struck on Thursday after eight days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, clears the way for a settlement to allay Western fears that Iran could build an atomic bomb. In return economic sanctions on Tehran will be lifted gradually.
It left Washington's closest regional ally, Israel, fuming. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared it did not block the ay for Iran to obtain the bomb, but rather paved the way for it to obtain it.
The deal still requires experts to work out difficult details before a June 30 deadline and diplomats noted that it could still collapse at any time before then.
Netanyahu, who has the ear of Republicans who control both houses of the U.S. Congress, said the powers negotiating with Iran must add a new demand that Tehran recognise Israel's right to exist. Israel believes Iran's goal is to destroy it.
Under Thursday's terms, Iran will dispose most of its stockpiles of 20% enriched uranium, cut back its stockpile of low enriched uranium from 10.000 kilo to 300 kilo, and cut down the number of its centrifuges from 19.000 to 6.104. It will keep all of its nuclear power plants, also the one that were secretly bnuilt undreground end it will allow for intensive international inspections in tthe next 25 years. Washington said the settlement would extend the "breakout time" needed for Iran to make a bomb to a full year, from 2-3 months now.
For Iran, it would eventually lead to the end of sanctions that have cut the oil exports that underpin its economy by more than half over the past three years. Celebrations erupted in the Iranian capital after the deal was reached. Cars in Tehran honked horns as passengers clapped. Conservative clerics signalled their support on Friday, including on behalf of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, whose authority exceeds that of the elected president.
U.S. Republicans, however, have demanded that the Congress they control be given the right to review the deal.