Iran Nuke Deal May Herald a More Dangerous Era
JERUSALEM, Israel -- After weeks of negotiations, the six world powers -- the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- reached an agreement with Iran.
"It is an important achievement for all of us for today. It could have been an end of hope," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said. "We are starting a new chapter of hope."
The agreement leaves Iran's nuclear facilities intact and allows it to continue to enrich uranium, a deal that satisfied its leaders.
Iran also achieved its most sought-after reward: lifting economic sanctions. The economic benefits are potentially massive. It stands to receive more than $100 billion in assets frozen overseas and an end to a European oil embargo and various financial restrictions on Iranian banks.
In Washington, President Obama hailed the deal.
"This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework this spring," Obama said. "Every pathway to a nuclear pathway is cut off."
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In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the deal, calling it "an historic mistake for the world."
"Our concern of course is that the militant Islamic State of Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said in a statement.
"Many of the restrictions which were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted, and in addition Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of [U.S.] dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world," he warned.
Now the focus shifts to the U.S. Senate, which has 60 days to review and vote on the deal.
The agreement also represents a major shift in U.S. policy, away from its traditional allies, such as Saudi Arabia, and toward the Islamic Republic. Since Saudi Arabia and many of the Gulf States consider Iran a mortal enemy, it's possible the deal will increase, not lessen, tensions in the region.
Netanyahu also alluded to a military option when he said Israel remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
So while the deal may end one phase of the world's dealing with Iran's nuclear program, another new and potentially more dangerous era may have begun.