Obama reassures Israel over Iran n-dealtext_fields
Washington: US President Barack Obama has reassured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the main sceptics of the Iran nuclear talks, that the US is committed to depriving Iran of any ability to make nuclear weapons, the White House said.
"The President emphasised that, while nothing is agreed until everything is, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran's pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme going forward," a White House statement said.
Obama underscored, however, that progress on the nuclear issue did not diminish US concerns with respect to Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and threats towards Israel, the statement said, stressing that the US remained "steadfast in our commitment to the security of Israel".
"The president told the prime minister that he has directed his national security team to increase consultations with the new Israeli government about how we can further strengthen our long-term security cooperation with Israel and remain vigilant in countering Iran's threats," the statement said.
Earlier on Thursday, Obama hailed the "historic" framework deal reached between the P5+1 group of world powers -- the US, China, Russia, France, Britain, plus Germany -- and Iran, saying it met the "core objectives" of the US and that it would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.
Under the parameters unveiled by the Obama administration, Iran will agree to reduce its installed centrifuges to 6,104 from about 19, 000; suspend the enrichment of uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years and cut its stockpiled low-enriched uranium from about 10,000 kg to 300 kg for 15 years.
In addition, Iran will allow regular access to all of its nuclear facilities for inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and agree to redesign and rebuild the heavy water research reactor in Arak that will not produce weapons-grade plutonium.
In return, the US and the European Union (EU) will suspend sanctions on Tehran, with the lifting of all UN Security Council's (UNSC) past sanction resolutions.
The framework pact also sees Iran's breakout time, or the time taken to enrich enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear weapon, being extended to at least one year from the estimated two to three months now, for a duration of at least 10 years.