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Significant First Step Agreement With Iran

Leaders gather at the United Nations Palais, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Geneva, Switzerland, during the Iran nuclear talks.

“Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles."

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany, the P5+1, have reached an agreement on a set of initial understandings that halts the progress of Iran’s nuclear program.

Significant First Step Agreement With Iran
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President Barack Obama called the agreement “an important first step toward a comprehensive solution”:

“Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges and its production of centrifuges will be limited.”

In addition, Mr. Obama said, “Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping it commitments.”

In return, the P5+1 will provide Iran with limited, temporary, targeted and reversible sanctions relief, and has agreed not to impose new nuclear-related sanctions for six months, if Iran abides by its commitments under the deal. What Mr. Obama called the “broader architecture of sanctions” will remain in place.

“Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program.”

In a press conference in Geneva after the accord was reached, Secretary of State John Kerry noted, “For the benefit of the Iranian people, we will also facilitate humanitarian transactions that are already allowed by U.S. law.”

“This channel will not provide Iran any new source of funds, but we will help them in order to try to provide the people of Iran with additional assistance. It simply improves access to goods that were never intended to be denied to the Iranian people.”

Secretary of State Kerry called the agreement reached in Geneva on November 23 “a critical first step.”

The next phase, he said, “requires proof certain of a failsafe set of steps which eliminate the current prospect of a breakout and the creation of a nuclear weapon. . . and we’re prepared to work with Iran in order to put in place a protocol that achieves those ends. We are prepared to work in good faith, with mutual respect,” said Secretary of State Kerry, “as we did in the last days…as we move towards the process of making certain that this threat will be eliminated."