Iran and six world powers will begin implementing an interim agreement designed to pause parts of Iran’s nuclear program.
The White House said that beginning Jan. 20, Iran will begin eliminating its stockpile of “higher levels of enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible.”
In return the the five permanent members of the United Nations — the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K. and France — plus Germany will ease some sanctions on Iran.
“With today’s agreement, we have made concrete progress,” President Obama said in a statement. “I welcome this important step forward, and we will now focus on the critical work of pursuing a comprehensive resolution that addresses our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. I have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed.”
Obama also said that he would veto any legislation that implements new sanctions on Iran.
As we reported back in November, Iran and the world powers reached a six-month deal in the hopes that during that time the two sides could reach a permanent deal.
All of this, of course, has to do with the West’s belief that Iran is working toward making a nuclear weapon. The West wants Iran to be more transparent about its program and to stop enriching uranium. Iran has always maintained that its program is peaceful and that it has the right to enrich uranium.
In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said: “While implementation is an important step, the next phase poses a far greater challenge: negotiating a comprehensive agreement that resolves outstanding concerns about the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Kerry said the U.S. is “clear-eyed” about the challenges facing the negotiations.
“These negotiations will be very difficult, but they represent the best chance we have to resolve this critical national security issue peacefully, and durably,” Kerry said.