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Political agreement reached on Iran nuclear talks

By
Ed Adamczyk
President Barack Obama announces a nuclear agreement has been reached between Iran and U.S. and European Union officials following eighth days of negotiations, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 2015. The agreement will reduce Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium while easing some sanctions with the end result that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
President Barack Obama announces a nuclear agreement has been reached between Iran and U.S. and European Union officials following eighth days of negotiations, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 2015. The agreement will reduce Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium while easing some sanctions with the end result that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 2 (UPI) -- Negotiators announced an agreement has been reached to limit Iran's nuclear activities in exchange for diminished Western economic sanctions.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released a joint statement of political agreement. The details were more extensive than expected by most observers, but a detailed technical agreement still has to be reached by June 30.

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Among agreements reached were a 10-year duration, the conversion of the Fordow nuclear facility to a nuclear physics research lab and International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of the Iranian nuclear program.

President Barack Obama commented on the "historic understanding with Iran," calling it a framework that could lead to a final comprehensive that "will make our country, our allies and our world safer."

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Secretary of State John Kerry detailed the preliminary agreement, which would reduce Iranian enriched uranium stockpiles by 98 percent for the next 15 years, cut the number of centrifuges in Iran by two-thirds for the next 10 years and extend breakout time -- the time it would take Iran to develop a functioning nuclear weapon -- from two or three months to at least a year.

Obama and Kerry struck an assertive tone, underlining the possibility of sanctions "snapping back" if Iran failed to comply with the provisions of the agreement.

Zarif, speaking at a later press conference, called the agreement a "win-win outcome" which "was my country's approach from the very beginning."

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He characterized the negotiations as a fresh start and said, "We have stopped a cycle that was not in the interest of anybody. Not in the interest of non-proliferation, not in the interest of anybody."

A "joint comprehensive plan of action" regarding controls on Iranian nuclear capability, and a reciprocal easing of economic sanctions on Iran, will be sought by the June deadline.

"Found solutions. Ready to start drafting immediately," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif tweeted.

"Good news," said a tweet from Mogherini.

Israeli leaders weren't as pleased with the outcome of the talks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran's nuclear programs should be ruled back even further because the current plan doesn't block the country's path to the bomb.

"It would pave it," he said. "It would increase the risks of nuclear proliferation in the region and the risks of a horrific war."

"A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel," Netanyahu continued. "This deal would legitimize Iran's nuclear program, bolster Iran's economy, and increase Iran's aggression and terror throughout the Middle East and beyond."

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