US President Barack Obama delivers a statement .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The nuclear deal reached last year between world powers and Tehran has “succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program,” US President Barack Obama said on Thursday morning.
Marking one year since the deal was clinched on July 14, 2015, Obama said the diplomatic achievement has avoided further conflict and made America safer.
“All of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon remain closed, and Iran’s breakout time has been extended from two to three months to about a year,” Obama said. “The United States and our negotiating partners have also fully implemented our commitments to lift nuclear- related sanctions, and we will continue to uphold our commitments as long as Iran continues to abide by the deal.”
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the formal name for the nuclear accord – is intended to cap Iran’s nuclear work for a fixed period, and monitor it in perpetuity, in exchange for international sanctions relief.
“The JCPOA demonstrates what can be achieved by principled diplomacy and a sustained commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.
America’s willingness to engage directly with Iran opened the door to talks, which led to the international unity and sustained engagement that culminated in the JCPOA,” Obama continued, noting that “serious differences” with Iran still exist.
Yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry made similar statements. Kerry – who personally led the negotiations on Obama’s behalf – said its success “underscores the value of diplomacy itself.”
“There are continuing issues” with Iran, Kerry acknowledged.
“Nobody pretends that some of the challenges we have with Iran have somehow been wiped away. This program was about a nuclear track and about a nuclear program. It was not about the other issues that are involved in the relationships of a number of nations in the region and the United States.”
In Iran, the government reacted to the anniversary with equal parts commitment and resolve, vowing to continue in compliance of the accord while noting their ability to rebuild their program should the deal fall apart.
“If, some day, the P5+1 refuses [to fulfill] its commitments, we will be completely prepared, and, in terms of nuclear capabilities, we are at such a level so as to be able to reach our desired stage in a short period of time,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at an event marking the occasion, according to staterun media.
The P5+1 refers to the parties across the table from Iran which negotiated the agreement: The permanent five members of the UN Security Council – the US, United Kingdom, Russia, China and France – as well as Germany.
Violations of the agreement, Rouhani added, are a lose-lose for all involved in the international community.