President Obama Announces 'Historic' Iran Nuclear Agreement

Obama said that the historic understanding will subject Iran to stricter nuclear inspections than any other country in the world, in return for a lifting of nuclear-related sanctions.
23:15 | 04/02/15

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Transcript for President Obama Announces 'Historic' Iran Nuclear Agreement
This is an ABC news special. Now reported. George Stephanopoulos. Good afternoon we're coming on the air because President Obama is about to address the tentative deal on Iran's nuclear program that has just been announced after marathon negotiations in Switzerland. America's chief negotiator secretary of state John Kerry has preview these remarks between calling this a big day. Because the US Iran in other world powers have reached agreement on parameters to resolve major issues around me running program. President or a honey of Iran using similar language in tweet from his office saying solutions on key parameters have been reached. And then a final agreement is expected by June 30 deadline. So this agreement to reach agreement was difficult enough talked blew through their Tuesday deadline negotiators were all through last night to put together a document just announced. And President Obama is now under some pressure from congress and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to demonstrate the deal really will ensure. That Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful. Present was supposed to be Kentucky right now but he delayed that triple word came to deal was close. This stable will be his first effort to sell it to a skeptical congress ought to go to our chief. Foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz. And marked the key thing for the president here is to convince congress. That this really will ensure that Iran can't let that probably years breathing space before Iran can break out from any deal. And produce a bomb. And they agreed on that in in in what we have seen so for George it appears that Iran has agreed to that that breakout period how soon they could build a bomb. Right now is between two and three months. The US wants that to be at least a year Iran it has again apparently agreed to that but there are not. To any specifics about that agreement. And I'll go back to you here. Chargers here comes the president right now. That none of the road. Today the United States together when our allies and partners. As reached historic understanding with a rock. Which if fully implemented. Will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As president and commander in chief I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people. And I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal. It will make our country. Our allies and our world safe. This has been a long time coming. Islamic Republic of Iran has been advancing its nuclear program for decades. By the time I took office Iran was operating thousands of centrifuges. Which can produce materials for a nuclear bomb. And Iran was concealing a Covert nuclear facility. I made clear that we were prepared to resolve this issue diplomatically. But only if Iran that came to the table and serious way. When that did not happen we rally the world to impose the toughest sanctions in history. Sanctions which had a profound impact on the Iran in economy. Now sanctions alone could not stop Iran's nuclear program but they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts the world stood with us and we're joined at the negotiating table by the world's major powers. The United Kingdom France Germany. Russia and China as well as the European your. Over year ago we took the first step towards today's prime. With a deal to stop the progress of new Iran's nuclear program. And roll it back in key areas. And were called it at the time skeptics argued that Iran would cheat. The we could not verify their compliance. In the interim agreement would fail. Instead it has succeeded exactly as intended. Iran has met all of its obligations. It eliminated its stockpile of dangerous nuclear material. Inspections of Iran's program. Increased. And we continued negotiations to see if we could achieve a more comprehensive. Deal. Today. After many months of tough principled diplomacy. We have achieved the framework for that deal. And it is a good deal. A deal that meets our core objectives. This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon. Ron Wolf face strict limitations on its program. And Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime. Ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. So this deal is not based on trust. It's based on unprecedented. Verification. Many key details will be finalized over the next three months. And nothing has agreed to until everything is agreed. But here are the basic outlines of the deal that we are working to finalists. First Iran will not be able to pursue a bomb using plutonium. Because it will not develop weapons grade plutonium. The core of its reactor at a rock will be dismantled and replaced. The spent fuel from that facility will be shipped out of Iran for the life of the reactor. Iran will not build a new heavy water reactor. And Iran will not reprocess fuel from its existing reactors. Ever. Second this deal shuts down Iran's path to a bomb using enriched uranium. Rod has agreed that it's installed centrifuges will be reduced by two thirds. Iran will no longer enrich uranium at its Bordeaux facility. Iran will not enrich uranium with its advanced centrifuges for at least the next ten years. The vast majority of Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium will be neutralize. Today estimates indicate that Iran has only two or three months away from potentially requiring the raw materials. The could be used for a single nuclear bomb. Under this deal Iran has agreed that it will not stockpiled materials needed to build a weapon. Even if it violated the deal. For the next decade at least Iran would be. A minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb. In the strict limitations on Ron stockpile. Will last for fifteen years. Third. This deal provides the best possible defense against Iran's ability to pursue a nuclear weapon overtly that is in secret. International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iran in nuclear facilities. But to the entire supply chain that supports Iran's nuclear program. From uranium melts the provide raw materials. To the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program. If Iran cheeks the world won't know. If we see something suspicious we will inspect. Iran's past efforts to weaponized this program will be addressed. With this deal around will face more inspections than any other country in the world. So this will be a long term deal. That addresses each path toward potential awry in nuclear bomb. There will be strict limits on Iran's program for a decade. Additional restrictions on building new facilities are stockpiling materials will last for fifteen years. The unprecedented transparency measures will last for twenty years or more indeed some will be permanent. And as a member of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon. In return for Iran's actions. The international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions. Our own sanctions and international sanctions imposed by the united nations Security Council. This relief will be faced as Ron take steps to adhere to the deal. If Iran violates the deal sanctions can be snapped back into place. Meanwhile other American sanctions on Iran. Fort support of terrorism. Its human rights abuses its ballistic missile program. Will continue to be fully enforce. Elevate re emphasize our work is not yet done. The deal has not been site. Between now and the end of June. The negotiators will continue to work through the details of how this framework will be fully implement it and those details matter. If there is backsliding. On the part of a run its. If the verification and inspection mechanisms don't meet the specifications of our nuclear and security experts. There will be no deal. But if we can get this done. In a Ron follows through on the framework that our negotiators agreed to. We will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security and to do so peacefully. Given the importance of this issue I've instructed my negotiators to fully briefed congress and the American people on the substance of the deal. And I welcome a robust debate in the weeks and months to come. I'm confident that we can show that this deal is good for the security of the United States. For our allies and for the world. But the fact is we only have three options for addressing Iran's nuclear program. First we can reach a robust and verifiable deal like this law. And peacefully prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The second option as we can bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. Thereby starting another war in the Middle East and setting back Iran's program by a few years in other awards setting a backed by a fraction of the time that this deal. Will set it back. Meanwhile we can shore that Ron would race ahead to try and build a bomb. Third we could pull out of negotiations. Try to get other countries too it go along and continue sanctions that are currently in place or add additional ones and hope for the best. Knowing that every time we have done so. Iran has not capitulated but instead has advanced its program. And that in very short order the break up timeline would be eliminated. And a nuclear arms race in the region could be triggered because of that uncertainty. In other words. The third option meets this very quickly back to a decision about whether or not take military action. Because we have no idea what was going on inside a room. Iran has not going to simply dismantle its program because we demanded to do so. That's how the world works. That's not what history shows us. Ron has shown no willingness to eliminate those aspects of their program that they maintain are for peaceful purposes. Even in the face of on president sanctions. We should negotiations collapsed because we. The United States rejected what the majority of the world considers a fair deal. What are scientists and nuclear experts suggest. Ward. Give us confidence that they are now developing nuclear weapon. It's doubtful that we can even keep. Our current international sanctions in place. So when you're here the inevitable critics of the deal sound off. Ask them a simple question. Do you really think that this verifiable deal. If fully implemented. Backed by the world's major powers. Is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East. Is it worse than doing what we've done for almost two decades when Iran moving forward. Would its nuclear program and without robust inspections. The natural be clear. Remember I've always insisted that I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And I will. But I also know that a diplomatic solution is the best way to get this done. And offers a more comprehensive. And lasting solution. It is our best option by far. And while it is always a possibility that Iran may try to cheat on the deal in the future. This framework of inspections and transparency makes it far more likely that we'll know about it if they strategy. And I or future presidents will have preserved all of the options that are currently available to deal with. To be running people. Auto reaffirm what I've said since the beginning of my presence. We are willing to engage you on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect. This deal offers the prospect of relief from sanctions that were imposed because of Iran's violation of international law. Since Iran's supreme leader has issued a fought well against the development of nuclear weapons. This framework gives a raw on the opportunity to verify. That is program is in fact these. It demonstrates that if Iran complies with its international obligations that it can fully rejoin the community of nations. Thereby fulfilling the extraordinary talent and aspirations be running and people. That would be good for a run at a would be good for the world. Of course this deal alone even if fully implement. Will not and the deep divisions and mistrust between our two countries. We have a difficult history but. Between us. And our concerns will remain with respect to running behaviors so long as Iran continues its sponsorship of terrorism. Its support for proxies who destabilize the Middle East. If threats against America's friends and allies. Like Israel. So make no mistake we will remain vigilant and countering those actions and standing with our allies. It's no secret that the Israeli prime minister I don't agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution. To the Iran in issue. If in fact prime minister Netanyahu was looking for the most effective way to ensure Ron doesn't get a nuclear weapon. This is the best option. I believe our nuclear experts can't confirm that. More importantly I won't be speaking with the prime minister today to make clear that there will be no daylight there is no daylight. When it comes to our support for Israel security. And our concerns about Iran's destabilizing policies and threats towards Ezra. That's why I've directed my national security team to consult closely with the new Israeli government in the coming weeks and months. About how we can further strengthen our long term security cooperation with Israel and make clear our unshakable commitment. To Israel's defense. Today I also spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia to reaffirm our commitment to the security of our partners in the gulf. And I'm inviting the leaders of the six countries who make up the Gulf Cooperation Council. Saudi Arabia. United Arab Emirates Kuwait Oman Qatar. And but rain to meet me at Camp David this spring to discuss how we can further strengthen our security cooperation. While resolving the multiple conflicts that caused so much hardship and instability throughout the Middle East. Finally it's worth remembering that congress has on a bipartisan basis. Played a critical role in our current Iran policy helping to shape the sanctions regime that applied so much pressure on Iran and ultimately. Forced them to the table. In the coming days and weeks my administration will engage congress once again about how we can play Akins and how it can play a constructive oversight role. I'll begin that effort by speaking the leaders of the house and senate today. In those conversations I will underscore. That the issues at stake here are bigger than politics. These are matters of war peace. And they should be evaluated based on the facts. And what is alternately best for the American people. And for our national security. For this is not simply a deal between my administration and or wrong. There's a deal between Iran the United States of America and the major powers in the world. Including some are closest allies. If congress kills this deal not based on expert analysis. And without offering any reason Walter. That is the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. International unity will collapse. In the path to conflict will widen. The American people understand us. Why solid majorities support. A diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. They understand instinctively the words of president Kennedy. Who pays down the far greater threat of communism. And said let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate. The American people remember that at the height of the Cold War. Presidents like Nixon and Reagan struck a historic arms control agreements with the Soviet Union. A far more dangerous adversary. Despite the fact of that adversary not only threatened to destroy our country and our way a life but have the means to do so. Those agreements were not perfect. They did not. And all threats. But they made. Our world safer. A good deal with a rumble do the site. Today I like to express my thanks to our international partners for their. Steadfastness. The cooperation. I was able to speak earlier today with our close allies prime minister Cameron president long chip for Merkel. To reaffirm that we stand shoulder to shoulder in this effort. And most of all on behalf of our nation one express my thanks to our tireless and I mean tireless secretary of state John care. And our entire negotiating tear. They have worked so hard to make this progress. They represented be best tradition of American diplomacy. There work. All work is not yet done. And success is not guarantee. But we have a historic opportunity to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in Iran. And to do so peacefully. With the international community firmly behind us. We should seize that chance. Thank you go bluster. God blessed us states of America. President Obama where they forceful defense there of this tentative. Agreement on preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons the president saying if an historic understanding that if it holds up they did have a big get there if it holds up. It will lead to a safer world because he says. It will cut off every single pathway that Iran a pass to nuclear weapon taking away their ability to get nuclear weapons through the use of peaked plutonium. X by enriching uranium or also been doing this secret way because he says. That Iran will now be subject to the most severe an extensive inspection regime of any country. In the world the president also calling out. The critics have this agreement. Saying that anyone who's against rule will have to ask them -- the question is it worse than another war in the Middle East to present specifically. Saying he would talk Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Later today I want to go to Martha Raddatz. But you cash skiddie correspondent Martha the president with a big defense there's thing of course the work is not yet done. And he's got some work to do convincing congress that this deal really can't hold up meanwhile the raw onions also left to go back and convince hardliners in their country. The sanctions really will be lifted. They will certainly have to go back to their own country and say they want those sanctions that that they want this deal to go forward and to fully implement this deal is you know George I was there a little over a month ago in Iran. And you walk those streets that there are people who want this deal to go through they really do they want to be a part of the world. The hard liners and those are the ones will have to watch but they are up against very young population they have to engage that population that population. Is reaching out to the west I was walking. In crowds where they were saying death to America but most of the people would come up to me and say it's just your policies it's not America the American people we hate. Or their ways it's just their policies but I got a real sense that the Iran in people. Really want this to happen so this is indeed a historic day but we'll have to see if it's fully implemented and I. Deadline is June 30 and that goal is always in the details another major story breaking today marked the want to ask you about. As well that terrorist attack in Kenya and a Kenyan university can government just saying. 147. People have been killed by this out said Bob group which the US has been targeting in Somalia. We've been targeting them for a long time George this is just an extraordinary. Number a 147. People. I think there are only about. 800 students on that campus saying how about a quarter of that campus killed in this as far as we know so far was only a handful of gunman. Six to eight gunmen armed came at 5 o'clock this morning a lot of the students were still sleeping. And they separated. Muslims and non Muslims they asked people what religion they were are you Muslim or are you Christian. And if they were Christian if they were non Muslim they would shoot those students and of course throughout pick campus they were shooting wildly as well. Horrific attack a lot of news breaking today they'll be full reports on world news tonight were David Muir. Until then on to a Stephanopoulos in New York. This has been a special. For me he's.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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