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A Critical Milestone Reached Over Iran's Nuclear Program

From left, Head of Mission of People's Republic of China to the European Union Hailong Wu, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarifat, an unidentified Russian official, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon."

Iran and the P5+1 countries, under the auspices of the European Union, have reached a landmark understanding outlining the key parameters of a comprehensive accord concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

A Critical Milestone Reached Over Iran's Nuclear Program
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Speaking at the White House, President Barack Obama called the framework an “historic understanding” that, if fully implemented, will mean Iran will not obtain a nuclear weapon:

“This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.”

Many key details must be finalized over the next three months, as the parties work toward a comprehensive accord. The basic outlines of the framework include Iran’s halting all uranium enrichment at its Fordow nuclear facility; dismantling and replacing the core for the reactor at the Arak heavy water facility so no weapons grade plutonium can be produced; agreeing not to stockpile any of the materials needed to build a nuclear weapon; and allowing international inspectors unprecedented access, not only to its nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports its nuclear program.

In return for Iran’s actions, President Obama said, the international community will provide relief from certain sanctions:

“Our own sanctions and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security council. This relief will be phased, as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal. If Iran violated the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place.”

President Obama also spoke directly to the Iranian people:

“I want to reaffirm what I’ve said since the beginning of my presidency. We are willing to engage you on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect…This framework gives Iran the opportunity to verify that its program is, in fact, peaceful. It demonstrates that if Iran complies with its international obligations, then it can fully rejoin the community of nations, thereby fulfilling the extraordinary talent and aspirations of the Iranian people.”

“That,” Mr. Obama said, “would be good for Iran, and it would be good for the world.”