(GENEVA) — Iran and six world powers reached a preliminary deal Sunday morning to freeze key parts of Tehran’s nuclear program in return for temporary relief on economic sanctions.
The initial six-month deal, which came after four days of negotiations, was sealed at a ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations. Under the agreement, Iran is required to halt much of its program and roll back certain elements, including halting enrichment above 5 per cent and neutralizing its stockpile of uranium.
In addition, the country has committed to “unprecedented transparency and intrusive monitoring of its program,” according to a White House release.
The deal is the first to halt the progress of the country’s nuclear program in nearly a decade, according to President Obama. The tough sanctions imposed by his administration and allies led to the preliminary deal, he said in an address.
“These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy and with the election of a new Iranian president earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged,” he added.
The United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China helped to facilitate the negotiation.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who travelled to Geneva to help with the deal, said the next phase in negotiations will be “even more difficult…but it will also be even more consequential.”
Senate Republicans are expressing skepticism about the deal, saying Sunday morning they are likely to push for new sanctions against Iran that would take effect in six months if the agreement is breached.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN