Obama to speak on Iran deal
President Obama will address the new agreement on Iran’s nuclear program at around 2:15 p.m., the White House said Thursday. Obama will speak after a formal announcement by negotiators in Switzerland that the United States, allies, and Iran have a general agreement, with details to be negotiated between now and June 30.
The parties are negotiating an agreement in which the allies would lift sanctions off Iran if it gives up the means to make nuclear weapons. Among the issues: The pace at which sanctions might be eased, and exactly how to verify that Iran is honoring an agreement to shut off all avenues to nuclear weapons. U.S. and Iranian officials said the parties have reached a political framework that will govern more technical talks in the coming months. The deadline for a final agreement is June 30.
Before the formal announcement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called it a “big day,” tweeting that the United States, its partners, and Iran “now have parameters to resolve major issues on nuclear program. Back to work soon on a final deal.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweeted that “solutions on key parameters of Iran nuclear case reached. Drafting to start immediately, to finish by June 30th.”
The parties had set a March 31 deadline for the political agreement, but extended it by two days. The late March deadline was created in part as a response to threats from members of Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran. That move would gut the entire negotiations, Obama and aides said. It is too early to tell how Thursday’s announcement might affect a congressional move toward new sanctions on Iran. Last week, Obama told reporters he had “confidence that if there’s an agreement, it’s going to be a good agreement” for U.S. and regional security. “And if it isn’t, then there probably won’t be an agreement,” he said. “So there will be, I think, significant transparency in the whole process.”