Yesterday evening, the State Department announced that Iran had met the conditions required by last summer’s nuclear proliferation agreement and that sanctions would be lifted.
Here are the details, from Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz:
Iran has shipped 25,000 pounds of enriched uranium out of the country and has removed and placed in monitored storage two-thirds of its centrifuges and associated infrastructure. The core of Iran’s Arak Heavy Water Research Reactor was removed and filled with concrete, eliminating Iran’s potential source of weapons-grade plutonium. To block possible covert pathways, Iran has allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unprecedented access to its nuclear facilities and supply chain. And for the first time, the IAEA will be using modern safeguards technologies in its monitoring and verification efforts in Iran. Earlier today, the IAEA reported that Iran has completed all the necessary nuclear steps required to reach Implementation Day under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
In addition, Americans held prisoner in Iran were released including a Washington Post reporter.
Secretary John Kerry:
This evening, we are really reminded once again of diplomacy’s power to tackle significant challenges. And thanks to years of hard work and committed dialogue, we have made vital breakthroughs related to both the nuclear negotiation and a separate long-term diplomatic effort. I’m very happy to say that as we speak, we have received confirmation that five Americans who had been unjustly detained in Iran have been released from custody. And they should be on their way home to their families before long – shortly. […]
Today, more than four years after I first traveled to Oman at the request of President Obama to discreetly explore whether the kind of nuclear talks that we ultimately entered into with Iran were even possible, after more than two and a half years of intense multilateral negotiations, the International Atomic Energy Agency has now verified that Iran has honored its commitments to alter – and in fact, dismantle – much of its nuclear program in compliance with the agreement that we reached last July. […]
The hard work will continue, no question. And the tough politics surrounding this issue in many countries, including the United States and Iran – that’s obviously not going to get easier overnight. But the fact is that today marks the first day of a safer world, one where we believe it is possible to remain safer for years to come, and particularly with the compliance of this agreement.
I think we have also proven once again why diplomacy has to always be our first choice, and war our last resort.
Full transcript of text below.
UPDATED with the president’s letter to Congress revoking the previous executive actions related to Iran’s nuclear program and issuing the new executive action.
UPDATED – President Obama’s remarks Sunday, 1/17:
This is a good day, because, once again, we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy. […]
… from Presidents Franklin Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, the United States has never been afraid to pursue diplomacy with our adversaries. And as President, I decided that a strong, confident America could advance our national security by engaging directly with the Iranian government.
Transcript: Statement by the President on Iran