Obama praises deal to cap Iran's nuclear progam

McClatchy Washington BureauNovember 23, 2013 

President Barack Obama praised the landmark accord that would rein in Iran’s nuclear program in a brief statement Saturday night from the White House.

“These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon,” Obama said. “Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb.”

Obama said his administration has worked with allies and lawmakers on Capitol Hill to try to resolve the issue peacefully through diplomacy and unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

“Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure – a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon,” he said. “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

Obama delivered a hastily-called six-minute statement from the White House Saturday night. He briefly mentioned Israel, which remains skeptical of the agreement, and acknowledged the deal is only a first step as negotiators pursue a greater agreement.

“As we go forward, the resolve of the United States will remain firm, as will our commitment to our friends and allies – particularly Israel and our Gulf partners, who have good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions,” he said. Obama warned that Congress should not impose new sanctions, which could derail a bigger agreement, alienate the U.S. from allies and risk unraveling the coalition that enabled the sanctions to be enforced in the first place.

“The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be for exclusively peaceful purposes,” he said. “If Iran seizes this opportunity, the Iranian people will benefit from rejoining the international community, and we can begin to chip away at the mistrust between our two nations.”

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