There has been a night of jubilation in Tehran, as people celebrated news that Iran and
world powers had reached a framework nuclear deal paving the way for an end to years of crippling sanctions on the country.
For many of those singing, dancing and driving on the capital’s streets, there could be no better present to mark the end of the Persian New Year holiday.
“I hope everyone can live happily,” said Tehran resident, Riza.
“I hope the world can understand our country. We have no differences with other countries. We don’t seek terrorism. At last we deserve to live freely.”
In one video posted on Facebook, a group of women can be heard clapping and chanting “Thank you, Rouhani.” in praise of President Hassan Rouhani.
The tentative deal on curbing Iran’s nuclear programme amid fears the aim has been to build a bomb – something Tehran denies – follows 12 years of brinkmanship, threat and confrontation. But many details must still be worked out to finalise it.
Under the outline deal, Iran would shut more than two-thirds of its installed centrifuges capable of producing uranium that could be used to build a bomb, dismantle a reactor that could produce plutonium, and accept intrusive verification.
The negotiations between Iran and six powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – blew past a self-imposed March 31 deadline with no certainty that they would not end in failure.
The framework includes limits on Iran’s enrichment of uranium for 10 years.
Iran agreed to significantly reduce the number of installed uranium enrichment centrifuges it has to 6,104 from 19,000 and will only operate 5,060 for 10 years under the future agreement with the six powers, according to a US fact sheet. Iran will only use first generation centrifuges during that time, it said.
One of the most sensitive issues during the negotiations, Iran’s research and development work, will also be limited.
The framework is contingent on reaching an agreement by June 30. All sanctions on Iran will remain in place until a final deal.
France’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, defended the accord.
“Under no circumstances will Iran seek or have nuclear weapons,” he told reporters in the Swiss resort of Lausanne after eight days of marathon talks.
“And it is with this simple and strong sentence that all the discussions took place. And that is the entire point of this agreement: nuclear power for civilian purposes – no problem, 100 percent. Nuclear power for military purposes, the atomic bomb – no way.”
Under Thursday’s agreement, Iran will gradually receive relief from US and European Union nuclear sanctions if it complies with the terms of a final deal. Some UN Security Council sanctions would be gradually lifted, though others would remain in place, specifically those relating to proliferation.
“We’re still some time away from reaching where we want to be,” said Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
President Barack Obama hailed the agreement as an “historic understanding with Iran” and compared it to nuclear arms control deals struck by his predecessors with the Soviet Union that “made our world safer” during the Cold War. He also cautioned, however, that “success is not guaranteed”.
Diplomats close to the negotiations said the deal was fragile. Experts believe it will be much harder to reach a final agreement than it was to agree the framework accord.
The talks were the biggest opportunity for rapprochement between Washington and Tehran since they became enemies after Iran’s 1979 revolution, but any deal faces scepticism from conservatives in both countries.
US allies in the Middle East are also sceptical, including Saudi Arabia.
The staunchest opponent of the agreement is Israel, which views Iran as a mortal threat.