Mixed response to Iran nuke deal


TEHRAN: Well-wishers hailed Iran’s nuclear negotiators as they returned to Tehran Friday from reaching a potentially historic framework deal with world powers, but Israel warned it was a “very dangerous” step.

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened security chiefs to prepare Israel’s response, Iranians awaited the first reaction from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran and six world powers agreed the outlines of the deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear drive on Thursday—in a major breakthrough in the 12-year standoff between Iran and the West.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the “historic understanding” with the Islamic republic after decades of hostility, warning like other leaders that work remains to finalize a highly complex agreement by June 30.

But in Iran, where crippling sanctions over its nuclear ambitions have left many suffering, the mood was joyful.

Hundreds of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran in celebration after the agreement was announced.

Khamenei will have the final word on the agreement, under which Iran agreed to sharply curtail its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Iran’s arch-foe Israel, widely assumed to have atomic weapons of its own, slammed the outline agreement as a “historic mistake” and said it would threaten the survival of the Jewish state.

“This framework is a step in a very, very dangerous direction,” government spokesman Mark Regev told journalists, adding that Iran’s “single goal” was to build a nuclear bomb.

Local media reported that Netanyahu had called a meeting of his security cabinet, including ministers, as well as senior officials from Israel’s security services.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the drafting of a full accord was to begin immediately after Thursday’s announcement. He was to make a statement later to reporters in Tehran.

Under the outline deal, the United States and the European Union are to lift all nuclear-related sanctions on Iran once the UN atomic agency has verified that Tehran has stuck to its terms.

All past UN nuclear resolutions on Iran would also be lifted.

The proposed limits will see Iran’s stocks of highly enriched uranium cut by 98 percent for 15 years, while its unfinished Arak reactor will not produce weapons-grade plutonium.

The deal will also see Iran reduce by roughly two-thirds—to 6,104 from around 19,000—the number of uranium centrifuges, which can make fuel for nuclear power but also the core of a nuclear bomb.



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