Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations with an agreement that could transform the Middle East.
Reaching the agreement did not bury the controversy of one of the most bitterly contested diplomatic issues of the day: the European Union called it a “sign of hope for the entire world”, while Israel called it an “historic surrender”.
Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and 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.
The agreement is a major political victory for both U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist elected two years ago on a vow to reduce the diplomatic isolation of a country of 77 million people.
But both leaders face scepticism from powerful hardliners at home after decades of enmity between nations that referred to each other as “the Great Satan” and a member of the “Axis of Evil”.
Rouhani was quick to present the deal as a step on the road towards a wider goal of international cooperation. The deal “shows constructive engagement works”, he tweeted. “With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges.”
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