US President Barack Obama addresses the nation during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, on July 14, 2015
US President Barack Obama addresses the nation during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, on July 14, 2015 © Andrew Harnik - Pool/AFP
US President Barack Obama addresses the nation during a press conference in the East Room of the White House, on July 14, 2015
Last updated: January 1, 1970

World leaders voice relief at Iran nuclear deal

World leaders hailed the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, with Barack Obama seeing a "new direction" and Vladimir Putin voicing a global "sigh of relief" -- though Israel criticised it as a "historic mistake".

Major international powers who thrashed out the agreement with Tehran said they hoped Iran would build on the opportunity to come in from the cold.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted he remained ready to order military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

US President Obama said the agreement offered a chance to reset vexed relations with Tehran.

"Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off," he said. "This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it."

But US House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, said the agreement would "embolden" Tehran and likely "fuel a nuclear arms race."

Sealed in Vienna after a 13-year stand-off, the deal was reached between Tehran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Russia's President Putin hailed the deal as a "firm choice for stability and cooperation."

"The world has breathed a huge sigh of relief," he said, pledging that Moscow would "do everything in its power" to ensure the agreement worked.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the deal removes "artificial" barriers towards forming a "broad coalition" to fight the Islamic State jihadist group.

The agreement is aimed at ensuring Iran does not obtain a nuclear bomb, in return opening up Tehran's sanctions-stricken economy.

Iran has always denied Western accusations that its civil nuclear programme was a cover for acquiring nuclear weapons.

- Israel unmoved -

Netanyahu called the deal a "historic mistake" marked by "huge compromises".

"We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands," he added, in what was seen as a thinly veiled threat of pre-emptive strikes against Iranian nuclear sites.

"Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction."

Through sanctions easing, "Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars with which it will be able to fuel its terror machine," Netanyahu added.

Obama lined up phonecalls with leaders in Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are also sceptical.

He told Netanyahu that the deal did not diminish "concerns regarding Iran's support for terrorism and threats toward Israel," the White House said.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the agreement "could serve as a vital contribution to peace and stability both in the region and beyond."

Spain, which presides over the UN Iran sanctions committee, said it would ensure the proper implementation of the agreement and hoped it would facilitate Iran's reintegration into the international community.

NATO called it a "historic breakthrough" that would strengthen global security, but said it was "critical" for Tehran to comply with the terms of the accord.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said the deal would help "make our world a safer place" and said Iran now had a "real opportunity" to benefit from the pact economically.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed it as "an important success" of international diplomacy, and Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel now plans to visit Iran soon.

- Region welcomes agreement -

French President Francois Hollande said "the world is making headway," urging Tehran to help world powers end the Syrian conflict.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said his key ally Iran had "achieved a historic victory".

Egypt said it hoped the deal would "prevent an arms race in the Middle East" and help achieve "peace and stability" in the region.

Iran's neighbour Afghanistan said it welcomed efforts aimed at "strengthening of peace and stability in the region", while Pakistan said that confidence-building measures over Tehran's nuclear programme "auger well for peace and security in our region."

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the deal would boost the regional economy.

Alongside him in Ankara, his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari also supported the deal and emphasised keeping "doors of dialogue open".

The agreement must "be implemented for the region to reach stability," he added.

The United Arab Emirates said Iran could play a significant regional role if it "stops interfering in the internal affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen."

UAE wants to see "a genuine desire for Iran to help extinguish fires devouring the region", namely "sectarianism, extremism and terrorism", an official said.

Meanwhile the Vatican hoped the agreement would "bear fruit" which would extend beyond simply Iran's nuclear programme.

blog comments powered by Disqus