Iran and six major countries struck a historic deal on Tuesday aimed at ensuring Tehran does not acquire a nuclear bomb, in return for relief from crippling sanctions. The breakthrough came after day 18 of marathon talks in Vienna, between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 – the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The accord is aimed at resolving a 13-year deadlock over Iran’s nuclear desires after repetitive diplomatic let-downs and fears of military act.
Hailing the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, US President Barack Obama said the pact ensuring Tehran does not acquire a nuclear bomb was based on verification and not on trust as he warned the Congress that he will veto any legislation aimed at scuttling the agreement.
“After two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not: a comprehensive long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Obama told the press at the White House.
The landmark deal is expected to sharply curb Iran’s nuclear programme and impose strict UN inspections in order to make any drive to make nuclear weapons all but impossible and easily detectable.
In return, the web of UN and Western sanctions choking Iranian oil exports and the economy of the country of 78 million people would be progressively lifted.
Iran, on its part, has always rejected the allegations of acquiring the nuclear weapons as the ones based on faulty intelligence provided by its enemies to a “gullible and biased” IAEA. The diplomatic push for the deal began when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013.
In November that year, an interim deal was agreed but two deadlines in 2014 for a lasting accord were missed. Then in April, the parties scored a major breakthrough by agreeing the main outlines of an accord, aiming to finalise it by the 30th June, but even that deadline was pushed back twice.
The agreement is a diplomatic victory for US President Barack Obama, who made the talks a centre-piece of his foreign policy, as well as for Rouhani, a moderate seeking to bring his country in from the diplomatic wilderness.
They have faced opposition from hardliners from home, as well as from Iran’s arch-foe Israel, believed to be the only country in the Middle East with atomic bombs, although it has never confirmed it.
(With inputs from the PTI)