An outline deal has been reached on Iran’s nuclear programme, bringing eight days of marathon talks in Switzerland to an end.
The framework agreement is aimed at stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, in exchange for a phased lifting of sanctions on the country.
How is it being perceived around the globe? Here Euronews’ correspondents have given their regional perspectives on the deal.
The publication of the details of the framework agreement has split the political class in Iran. The most radical conservative factions have fiercely criticised the outcome of the Lausanne negotiations. On the other hand the “moderates” have hailed a “historic agreement”. The reaction of the Imam, appointed by the Supreme Leader to lead Friday prayers in Tehran was positive: he explicitly thanked the Iranian negotiators for their work.
Iran has been trying to dominate in the Middle East for years. The role it that plays in the region’s countries in crisis and its fierce hostility towards the majority of the Sunni monarchies in the Persian Gulf demonstrate its commitment to this goal. Reducing tensions with the West could be a useful step towards accomplishing Tehran’s dream.
Nevertheless there has still been no reaction from the Supreme Leader. The highest authority of the Islamic Republic has until now supported the Rouhani government’s nuclear negotiations, despite his deep mistrust of the Western powers.
By Behnam Masoumi, Euronews’ Persian editor
Middle East reaction to the outline Iran nuclear deal has been slow to arrive and complicated by the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
The unrest in that country has pitched Sunni Muslims and their Shia cousins.
The last month has seen Saudi Arabia and a coalition of some Sunni Muslim countries begin air-strikes against Shia Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee the country. Houthi forces are backed by Iran.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has reacted. He told US President Barack Obama in a telephone call that he hoped a final deal with Iran could be reached that would strengthen regional and global security.
By Riad Muasses, Euronews’ Arabic editor
The Iran deal may well be US President Barack Obama’s biggest foreign policy achievement, but it could be shot down by Congress before the agreement is inked – despite the overwhelming support of the American people.
Polls suggest that more than two thirds of Americans support a diplomatic solution, which may make it trickier for Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail to oppose the deal and come up with an alternative other than military action.
For now, Republican opposition on Capitol Hill to the deal remains vehement and steadfast.
Constitutional legal scholars, though, differ on whether the Senate has the power to derail the Iran deal, as it is technically not a treaty. That’s why Republicans are trying to put together legislation that would unequivocally allow them to weigh in and kill the Iran agreement.
But to have a veto-proof majority, they would need a few Democrats. Some senators of the president’s party are sitting on the fence and might indeed join the Republicans in this effort.
One of them is Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a pro-Israel hawk who interestingly has just been indicted by Obama’s Justice Department with several charges of corruption.
The administration is now planning an aggressive public effort to explain and defend the Iran framework – including a tough assessment of the alternatives.
Obama already telephoned top Republican and Democratic leaders to outline the deal. Many lawmakers reacted cautiously, insisting on more details.
New York’s Senator Chuck Schumer, who is close to the Jewish constituency and typically a strong White House ally, only said that the deal “deserves careful, rigorous and deliberate analysis,” adding he will give it “a very careful look.”
By Stefan Grobe, Euronews’ Washington correspondent
Turkey welcomed the framework deal between Iran and world leaders.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “When we look at the positions of world powers right now, Iran is still below the line we were able to bring them to in 2010, but we hope Iran will come to that line. Turkey is very pleased that negotiations have ended in political understanding. We are happy to see consensus on the general framework of a final agreement. I hope the parties will reach final agreement.”
Turkey supports Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy programme and tried to mediate between Tehran and world leaders. On May 17, 2010, with the support of Brazil and Turkey, Iran and world powers signed a nuclear fuel swap deal.
As a neighbour of Iran, Turkey has been badly affected by the sanctions and had to diminish its energy dependency on Iran and find new suppliers.
Turkish officials hope Tehran would go further and seal a final deal at the end of June.
Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek also made a statement on the issue. He said the deal could pave the way for the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, which would help boost Turkey’s exports to its neighbour and help bring down global oil prices.
By Bora Bayraktar, Euronews’ Turkey correspondent
Not surprisingly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out swinging hard against the preliminary agreement over Iran’s nuclear program as one that puts the country in mortal danger.
“A deal based on this framework would threaten the survival of Israel,” Netanyahu warned in a statement after speaking to President Barack Obama by telephone. “Such a deal would not block Iran’s path to the bomb. It would pave it,” he said.
Netanyahu said the US and other countries should ratchet up the pressure on Iran until a better deal is reached.
In Israel, critics include not just Netanyahu, but also members of the security establishment, the academic community and even members of the left-leaning opposition.
Yair Lapid, the head the centrist Yesh Atid party, may not be willing to join Netanyahu’s government, but says on this issue, differences disappear.
“On the Iranian nuclear issue there is no opposition and coalition,” Lapid said in reaction to the deal. “We are all concerned that the Iranians will circumvent the deal and Israel must protect its own security interests.”
Dr. Ephraim Asculai, a former member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and an expert who served as a senior member of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission for over 40 years, says that what’s not been mentioned that troubles him most.
“Iran has been developing, according to the IAEA, a nuclear explosive mechanism, and that is a serious issue I haven’t heard a word about in any statement,” says Asculai, now a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Moreover, he said, he would have expected a more aggressive inspections regime, and for Iran to be left with far fewer centrifuges.
By Stefan Grobe, Euronews’ Washington correspondent
“A great success for European diplomacy, it was not easy,” said the European External Action Service in Brussels, the EU’s foreign affairs ministry, encapsulating delight over the outcome after days of intense negotiations in the corridors and rooms of the Hotel Beau Rivage in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Even though the deal is only an interim framework agreement it is considered a success for European diplomacy that emphasises the facilitator role of Federica Mogherini, the chief diplomat of the European Union and Vice-President of the European Commission.
It was she who chaired the negotiations in Lausanne, with the head of Iranian diplomacy Mohammad Javad Zarif. And it was Mogherini who first read the joint declaration revealing details of the deal.
“The EU will suspend the implementation of all the economic and financial sanctions linked to Iran’s nuclear programme and the US will do the same when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran meets all its commitments,” said Mogherini.
Mogherini welcomed the landmark deal, but, after hours without sleep, the overall tone was of restraint. This is because a lot of details remain to be settled before the new deadline of June 30. And the next set of negotiations are expected to be just as difficult.
Mogherini added: “We will now work to write the text of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including its technical details, in the coming weeks and months, at the political and expert levels. We are committed to complete our efforts by June 30.”
By Frédéric Bouchard, Euronews’ Brussels bureau chief