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Obama says 'clear-eyed diplomacy' led to pact on Iran's nuke program

Nov. 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM   |   Comments

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- President Obama called the agreement between Iran and Western leaders over Iran's nuclear program the result of "clear-eyed diplomacy" with a U.S. adversary.

"For the first time in almost a decade we've halted the progress on Iran's nuclear program," Obama said Monday before discussing immigration reform in San Francisco. "Key parts of program will be rolled back."

"As the strongest and most powerful nation on face of the Earth, we've engaged in clear-eyed and principled diplomacy, even with out adversaries," resulting in constraints placed on Iran's nuclear program.

"This diplomacy, backed by the unprecedented sanctions we brought on Iran," resulted in the agreement, he said.

International inspectors having "unprecedented access" to Iran's nuclear-related facilities will "help Iran from building a nuclear weapon."

"If Iran seizes this opportunity and chooses to join global community, then we can begin to chip away at the mistrust" between the United States and Iran, Obama said.

"We cannot close the door on diplomacy; we cannot rule out peaceful solutions to end the world's problems," the president said.

The White House said Obama plans to work closely with Israel as the United States prepares for more talks with Iran.

White House Josh Earnest said Obama wants to start consulting "with our Israeli allies immediately."

"We're also ready to begin conversations with the Iranians, again, through the P5+1," Earnest told reporters Monday, referring to the negotiating team made up of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members -- China, Britain, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said a team will travel to Washington to discuss issues concerning the final nuclear agreement with Iran.

Netanyahu made the announcement at the start of a Likud party faction meeting.

"I spoke last night with President Obama. We agreed that in the coming days an Israeli team led by national security adviser Yossi Cohen will go there to discuss the permanent agreement concerning Iran's nuclear program," Netanyahu said on Channel 10.

The permanent agreement must ensure that Iran's military nuclear capability is dismantled, Netanyahu said.

Referring to the agreement secured in Geneva before dawn Sunday by Iran and the P5+1 countries, Netanyahu once again called the agreement aimed at halting the Islamic Republic's nuclear program a "bad agreement."

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told CBS "This Morning" Monday the deal falls far short of assurances Iran will end its nuclear ambitions.

"This deal, this interim deal with Iran is in fact dangerous. It is a deal which brings Iran closer to becoming a nuclear power," Cantor said.

"This deal that's been negotiated by the secretary of state, frankly, falls well short of the U.N. Security Council Resolution which called for no sanctions relief until Iran suspended its enrichment of uranium."

"And we see in this deal language, despite the -- despite protest to the contrary, language which says that Iran will have some type of right to enrich. As of yet, in the language of the deal, still to be defined."

Obama, on a West Coast swing, called Netanyahu after the Israeli leader told reporters the six-month deal, intended to buy time to pursue more comprehensive talks to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, was "a historic mistake."

"The president underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions," the White House said in a statement outlining the Sunday call.

The deal reached in Geneva, calls for Iran to halt production of near-weapons grade nuclear fuel in exchange for some relief from economic sanctions amounting to $6 billion to $7 billion. Obama says the toughest sanctions will remain in place for now.

Obama told Netanyahu he wanted Washington and Jerusalem, as allies, to consult ahead of the first round of talks on a comprehensive agreement, the White House said.

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