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Iran and major powers reach nuclear deal

Iran and major powers clinch nuclear deal
Pres. Obama remarks on Iran nuclear deal
Historic Iran nuclear deal reached

After years of talks, Iran and six major powers clinched a historic nuclear deal Tuesday, sending oil prices lower.

The agreement will see some sanctions on Tehran eased in exchange for restrictions to its nuclear program. In a tweet, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the deal showed that "constructive engagement works."

Rouhani tweet

Oil prices came under pressure following the news, in anticipation of Iran bringing more oil onto the market and forcing prices down. However, experts suggest this could be a couple of years off as Iran will need to invest in infrastructure to come back online. Brent crude fell 2 percent on the news, but pared losses to trade around $57.63 a barrel at 1 p.m. London time.

'Balanced deal'

Negotiations between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China finally came to a head in Vienna this week, as Tehran came under pressure to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.

In the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the world powers put restrictions on Iran's ability to enrich uranium.

Iran is allowed could carry out "specific research and development (R&D) activities for the first 8 years" of the deal, with further enrichment activities possible afterwards, "for exclusively peaceful purposes," according to a copy of the JCPOA posted on the Russian government's Facebook page. Tehran is also not permitted to stockpile large amounts of enriched uranium.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be the watchdog that monitors Iran's nuclear activities.

Pres. Obama: Iran deal makes our country more secure

President Barack Obama said the deal would make the world a safer place.

"This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring real and meaningful change," he said at a press conference.

Congress will now have 60 days to review the deal and, if it rejects the deal, Obama would be able to veto the Legislative Branch's rejection.

The agreement means that all UN Security Council sanctions on Iran will be lifted, along with multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program, the EU's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said at a press conference.

As such, Iran will now be able to carry out functions it was previously not allowed to, such as exporting oil.

"We have successful concluded negotiations and resolved disputes that lasted more than 10 years," Mogherini said at a press conference, where she described the agreement as a "balanced deal".

Nuclear 'roadmap' signed

As part of the broader negotiations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it signed a "roadmap" to clarify what it called "past and present outstanding issues" regarding Iran's nuclear program by the end of the year.

"It sets out a clear sequence of activities over the coming months, including the provision by Iran of explanations regarding outstanding issues," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, said in a statement.

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The framework involves a "special agreement" over Parchin - Iran's secret military site - though details of what this involves are scarce.

'Historic mistake'

Reaching an agreement on Iran has been a top priority for Obama's administration, but could put him on collision course in Congress and cause tensions with allies Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East.

Obama has maintained that a deal would curb Iran's nuclear ambitions, but other nations in the region are concerned that a lifting of economic sanctions could see Iran bolster its conventional military capabilities.

Oil wells on Kharg Island in the Persian Gulf, off the coast of Iran.
Kaveh Kazemi | Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the deal on Twitter, calling it a "historic mistake."


However, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif moved to quash fears of other nations in a YouTube video, arguing that the deal would mean Iran could address "common challenges" in the Middle East.

"Our common threat today is the growing menace of violent extremism and outright barbarism...The menace we are embodied by the hooded men who are ravaging the cradle of civilization," Zarif said.

"To deal with this challenge, new approaches are badly needed. Iran has long been at the store front in the fight against extremism. I hope my counterparts will also turn their focus and devote their resources to this existential battle."