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Obama, Rowhani welcome historic nuclear deal

In a televised address, Obama said the deal cut off ‘every pathway’ to an Iranian atomic weapon

Published: Updated:

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani welcomed Tuesday’s historic agreement between Iran and major world powers that curbs the Islamic republic nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

In a televised address, Obama said the deal cut off “every pathway” to an Iranian atomic weapon.

“Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region,” he said in an address from the White House.

Describing a “difficult history” between Iran and the United States that “cannot be ignored,” Obama said the diplomatic victory also showed “it is possible to change.”

“This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it,” he said.

As Obama concluded his address – which was aired by Iranian state television – Rowhani began his statement on the diplomatic breakthrough.

The agreement would open a new chapter of cooperation with the outside world after years of sanctions, he said adding the “win-win” result would gradually eliminate mutual mistrust.

Iran would abide by its commitments under the agreement as long as world powers did, Rowhani, seen as a reformer, said.

He asserted the accord protected gains made by Tehran in a nuclear program the West suspects is intended to develop an atomic weapon. Iran says the work is purely peaceful.

Rowhani also urged neighboring countries to ignore what he called propaganda by Israel, saying Iran had a shared interest in the stability of the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the agreement a “historic mistake.”

‘Good deal’

Both Secretary of State John Kerry and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the agreement as a “good deal.”

“This is the good deal that we have sought,” Kerry told a news conference after the agreement.

“Today is an historic day,” Mogherini said adding, that was a great honor “for us to announce that we have reached an agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue.”

U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice said the agreement will prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and not let up pressure for its support of terrorism and “other destabilizing activities.”

“This is a very good deal. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuke and ensures the necessary inspections & transparency,” Rice said on Twitter.

Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, described the deal as historic, saying it “secures our fundamental aim - to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon - and that will help to make our world a safer place.”

He said the deal required leadership, courage and determination and that it was time to move forward and put it into place.

Cameron said Iran will reap economic benefits, so long as it delivers on everything it has agreed to do.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says his country is pleased with the result of nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran.

Speaking to journalists Tuesday in Vienna, Lavrov said Russia and China pushed to end an arms embargo on Iran as soon as possible. However, he said Iranians “agreed to compromise” since “the West insisted that the embargo should stay.”

French President Francois Hollande praised the landmark Iranian nuclear agreement and has called on Iran for help in the Syrian conflict.

Hollande said the deal shows the "world is moving forward" and that "Iran must show that it is ready to help us end the (Syrian) conflict."

Arms race

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia said it hopes Iran ends 'interference' after nuclear deal.

Egypt in the meantime said it “hopes that the deal between both sides is complete and prevents an arms race in the Middle East as well as ensuring the region is free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.”

The United Arab Emirates welcomed the historic deal saying it could turn a “new page” for the Gulf region.

“Iran could play a (significant) role in the region if it revises its policy and stops interfering in the internal affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen,” a UAE official said in the first reaction from the Gulf Arab monarchies to the Vienna accord.