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Iranian President: Nuclear Deal Is ‘First Step’

A tentative deal to curb Iran’s nuclear programme has been heralded as “a first step towards productive interactions with the world” by the country’s president.

As celebrations broke out on the streets of Tehran, Hassan Rouhani made a televised address to the Iranian people.

He said: “Today is a day that will remain in the historic memory of the Iranian nation. Some think that we must either fight the world or surrender to world powers.

“We say it is neither of those, there is a third way. We can have co-operation with the world.”

Mr Rouhani rose to power in a landslide two years ago – making a pledge to voters that he would bring decades of international isolation to an end.

In the agreement reached on Thursday, Iran would reduce its reserves of enriched uranium, which some nations fear could be used to produce a nuclear bomb.

Additionally, the country would dismantle nearly 13,000 centrifuges – and invasive inspections from international bodies would prevent Iran from violating the deal.

In return, many sanctions would be lifted – providing £100bn of relief to the Iranian economy.

Even though President Barack Obama has hailed the deal as a “historic understanding”, diplomats have said that tough negotiations lie ahead of a final deadline on 30 June – warning that the deal could be prone to collapse at any time.

Other world powers involved in brokering the deal included Russia, China, France, Germany and the UK – yet Israel has voiced public opposition to the agreement, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming it could lead to the destruction of his country.

In a statement, he said: “Israel demand that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian commitment to Israel’s right to exist.”

Responding to Mr Netanyahu’s claims, a White House spokesman pledged that the US would not support a deal which could endanger Israel – a key regional ally to the States.

Iran has always maintained its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.

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