As much as I've bitched about Obama's domestic policies, I've been pleasantly surprised by his approach to foreign policy in his second term. Obama 2.0 is working hard to find diplomatic solutions to some very thorny problems, and has been much more resistant to pressure from the Israelis than I ever could have hoped. So here's to President Obama and Secretary Kerry, who got this done with the laudable cooperation of Iranian leaders:
The United States and other world powers reached an historic agreement with Iran on Tuesday that calls for limits on Tehran's nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.
"Every path to a nuclear weapon has been cut off," President Obama declared in Washington.
Addressing critics in Congress and Israel who say Iran can't be trusted to honor the agreement, Obama said the deal is not just built on trust but "on verification."
The deal was formally announced during a news conference by Federica Mogherini, the European Union's top foreign affairs official, and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Mogherini said the deal balanced and respected the interests of all sides. The text will be presented to the United Nations Security Council in the next few days for endorsement, she said.
In comments delivered from Washington, President Obama hailed the agreement and said it would it will block Tehran's path to a nuclear weapon and promote stability throughout the region.
The deal will keep Iran from producing enough material for an atomic weapon for at least 10 years and impose provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites. Speaking in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said "a new chapter" has begun..
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was confident that regional ally Iran would support "just causes," suggesting that he expects more backing in his fight against insurgents after the deal, Reuters reported. Russian president Vladimir Putin welcomed the agreement, saying "the world can breathe a sigh of relief," according to reports.