Obama says Iran deal built on verification, not trust

Washington - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised the landmark nuclear deal reached with Iran as one built on verification, not trust, and said it would help stop the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

"Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off," Obama said in an address to the nation, with Vice President Joe Biden by his side. "This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring real and meaningful change."

Obama said the deal offered a chance to move in a "new direction" in relations with Tehran, but promised a skeptical Israel that Washington would not abandon it.

"Our differences are real. The difficult history between the nations cannot be ignored. It is possible to change," Obama said. "This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it."

The US president nevertheless promised to "continue our unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel's security, efforts that go beyond what any administration has done before".

Congress

Obama also warned Congress he would veto any legislation that prevented the deals successful implementation.

The president said the deal did not resolve all of the differences between the historic foes and noted Washington would maintain sanctions on Tehran for human rights violations and other issues.

Despite those differences, Obama said the deal was a chance for change in the region.

The deal represents a foreign policy win for Obama, who was criticised as a 2008 presidential candidate for proposing that the United States reach out to its enemies.

Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in exchange for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that the West suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

-AFP, Reuters

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