Iran nuclear deal 'achieves our top priority,' Obama says
Agreement makes U.S., world more secure, president tells reporters at White House
U.S. President Barack Obama says the nuclear deal signed with Iran "achieves our top priority," which is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
Obama, speaking to reporters Wednesday at the White House, said the agreement "shows what we can accomplish when we lead from a position of strength and principle."
The deal is "the best means of assuring Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon," he said, and it provides "real consequences" if violated.
"With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon," Obama said, adding that without a deal, those pathways would remain open. "With this deal, we gain unprecedented, around the clock monitoring of nuclear facilities."
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The president vehemently defended his stance, saying it peacefully resolves a major threat. He added it makes no sense to oppose the deal but he's not betting on the Republicans to support it.
"My hope is that everyone in Congress also evaluates this agreement based on the facts," adding it makes no sense to oppose it.
"This deal makes our country and the world more secure."
U.S. provides UN with resolution
The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote next week on a resolution to endorse the Iran nuclear deal and terminate targeted sanctions, but retain an arms embargo and ballistic missile technology ban, diplomats said.
The United States will circulate the draft resolution to the 15-member Security Council on Wednesday, UN diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Under a historic deal between Iran and major world powers in Vienna on Tuesday, Iran agreed to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating an atomic bomb. Iran has said its work is purely peaceful.
In return, the United States, European Union and United Nations would lift sanctions on Iran.
Under the agreement, any United Nations sanctions relief would be simultaneous with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying "implementation of agreed nuclear-related measures by Iran."
"Next week the UNSC will recognise the enrichment programme of a developing country," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA upon arrival at Tehran airport.
"Our measures will start when all sanctions are lifted. We hope that more or less within four months measures taken by both sides show results and implementation of the deal begins."
The UN Security Council resolution would terminate its seven previous resolutions on Iran, but under the Vienna deal it would leave a UN weapons embargo in place for five years and a ban on buying missile technology for eight years.
The five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — were parties to the deal agreed with Iran in Vienna, along with Germany and the European Union.
The UN resolution to endorse the deal would also enshrine a mechanism for all Security Council sanctions to be automatically re-imposed if Iran breaches the deal.
According to the Vienna deal, the six world powers, Iran and the European Union will form a Joint Commission to handle any complaints about breaches. If the complaining state is not satisfied with how the commission addresses its concerns, it could then take its grievance to the UN Security Council.
The Security Council would then need to vote on a resolution to continue the lifting of sanctions on Iran.
If such a resolution has not been adopted within 30 days of the council receiving the complaint of a breach, then the sanctions contained in all previous UN resolutions would be re-imposed, unless the council decided otherwise.
If the nuclear deal is adhered to, all the provisions and measures of the UN resolution would terminate 10 years after its adoption and the Iran nuclear issue would be removed from the Security Council agenda.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday that nothing in the nuclear deal with Iran removes the option of military action, Representative Steve Israel said.
Israel told reporters outside the caucus room where Biden met lawmakers in the U.S. Capitol that the vice president said "nothing in this agreement takes the military option off the table."
With files from CBC News