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World leaders hail Iran nuclear deal

The nuclear accord prevents Iran from enriching uranium beyond 5 percent and gives Tehran limited sanctions relief

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World leaders have hailed the historic landmark deal reached on Sunday between Iran and Western powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear drive in exchange for a relief in sanctions.

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the breakthrough deal with Iran and said it was “an important first step” towards a comprehensive pact to end the showdown over Teheran’s nuclear program.

“For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back,” he was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

But the president also warned that if Iran did not live up to its side of the bargain, it would both lose the nearly $7 billion in sanctions relief allowed under the interim deal and face increased sanctions.

His Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rowhani praised the deal and said it serves “regional states and world peace.”

“This agreement benefits all regional countries and global peace,” Rowhani was quoted as saying in a letter to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to AFP.

“Iran's nuclear and enrichment rights were recognized by world powers,” he said.

Rowhani also said the deal had been made possible due to “Iranian people’s vote for moderation,” referring to his election in June over a number of conservative candidates.

Following on the Iranian president Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also sent out a positive message welcoming the deal as an “achievement.”

“The nuclear negotiating team should be thanked and appreciated for this achievement. God’s grace and the support of the Iranian nation were the reasons behind this success,” Fars agency quoted Khamenei as saying, according to AFP.

“Resistance against excessive demands should be the criteria for (nuclear) officials,” he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has praised Rohwnai for his serious intentions that made the agreement possible and stressed that it would benefit all sides.

“Nobody lost, everyone ends up winning... We are convinced that Iran will cooperate with the (International Atomic Energy Agency) agency in good faith.” Russian news agencies quoted him as saying, according to AFP.

“With the arrival of the new president to power in Iran we have felt that declarations about the desire to resolve this issue have serious foundations,” Lavrov said.

The accord was announced after more than four days of talks in Geneva between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council members plus Germany.

It sees Iran committed to halt uranium enrichment above purities of five percent in exchange for some $7 billion in sanctions relief.

France, whose Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius participated in the intense negotiations, said the deal “confirms Iran's right to civilian nuclear energy but rules out access to the nuclear weapon.”

Fabius also said the agreement is “an important step to preserving security and peace.”

President Francois Hollande also saw the accord as a step in the right direction “towards stopping Iran's military nuclear program and therefore normalizing our ties,” he was quoted as saying by AFP.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the deal as “good for the whole world, including Middle Eastern countries and the people of Iran themselves,” according to Reuters,

In mirroring comments, Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi said the accord to curb Iran’s nuclear program would “help safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East,” in comments carried by AFP.

While the word hailed the progress made over Iran\s long disputed nuclear program, Israel didn’t fall short on riposting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has slammed the agreement and called it a “historic mistake” and a “bad deal” as Tehran had obtained “what it wanted.”

Netanyahu also said that Israel did not regard itself as bound by the deal.

Israel has repeatedly expressed skepticism over the nuclear talks in Geneva that have been taking place over the last weeks. Along with the West, it believes Tehran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing atomic weapons.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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