The nuclear deal with world powers is a political victory for Iran, President Hassan Rouhani has said, adding that the agreement meant Tehran would no longer be regarded as an international threat.
Rouhani’s comment came on Wednesday, a day after Iran and six world powers reached the deal, capping more than a decade of negotiations with a landmark agreement.
|Explained: Iran deal’s contents|
“No one can say Iran surrendered,” Rouhani said. “The deal is a legal, technical and political victory for Iran. It’s an achievement that Iran won’t be called a world threat any more.”
Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.
Rouhani said the deal was not “perfect” but it was necessary to compromise.
“It was really difficult to preserve some of our red lines,” he said. “There was a time we doubted there could be a deal. It’s a historic deal and Iranians will be proud of it for generations to come.”
Among Iran’s main conditions, or “red lines”, at the talks were a refusal to accept a long freeze on nuclear research and development and a demand for a rapid lifting of sanctions.
There was a time we doubted there could be a deal. It's a historic deal and Iranians will be proud of it for generations to come
Thousands of Iranians gathered in the capital, Tehran, to celebrate the deal following the end of Ramadan fast on Tuesday. They waved Iranian flags from their cars, while drivers honked their car horns.
“My personal opinion is that I wish they had done this sooner so people wouldn’t have to go through all these difficulties,” Masumeh Momeni, a resident of Tehran, told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is now back in Tehran following the 18-day negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
On Tuesday, Obama said the agreement offered a chance to reset strained relations with Tehran.
“Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off,” he said, adding that the deal “offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it.”
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the “honest and hard endeavours” of the country’s nuclear negotiating team just after the deal was clinched.
But not everyone is happy with the deal. Arab countries have deep fears of Iran gaining a nuclear weapon, and some have been skeptical that a deal will prevent that from happening.
|Iran’s nuclear history|
But equally high for key Sunni-dominated Gulf allies of the United States is the worry that a deal gives Iran the means and an implicit green light to push influence in the region.
Saudi Arabia issued a pointed warning, saying Iran must use any economic gains from the lifting of sanctions to improve the lives of Iranians, “rather than using them to cause turmoil in the region, a matter that will meet a decisive reaction from the nations of the region,” in a statement carried on the state news agency late on Tuesday.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, criticised the deal calling the decision “a historic mistake for the world”.
In a second statement on Tuesday afternoon, Netanyahu said the deal gives Iran incentives “not to change” and said “the world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday”.