Obama Hails Iran Deal, Argues against New Sanctions

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US President Barack Obama hailed an agreement struck on Sunday about Iran's nuclear program and argued that imposing additional US sanctions could scupper the deal.

Obama Hails Iran Deal, Argues against New Sanctions

"Now is the time to give diplomacy a chance to succeed," Obama said in a written statement after the European Union said that Iran and six major powers had reached an accord to implement a November 24 nuclear agreement with Iran.

That agreement is designed to curtail Iran's nuclear activities for a six-month period beginning on January 20 in exchange for sanctions relief from the six major powers: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Obama also urged the US Congress not to impose additional sanctions on Iran, saying that doing so risked undermining the November 24 agreement, known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), which aims to give the two sides six months to reach a comprehensive deal to address all questions about whether Iran seeks nuclear arms.

Iran denies this, saying its program is for solely peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and medical isotopes.

"Imposing additional sanctions now will only risk derailing our efforts to resolve this issue peacefully, and I will veto any legislation enacting new sanctions during the negotiation," Obama said in the statement, echoing a previous veto threat.

Obama said he had "no illusions about how hard it will be" to get a comprehensive agreement with Iran but that it was vital "for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world" to try to find a diplomatic solution.

Separately, senior US officials for the first time offered details on how the estimated $7 billion in sanctions relief envisaged in the November 24 agreement will be meted out.

The officials, who spoke to reporters on condition that they not be identified, said that some sanctions relief will start on the first day of the six-month agreement's implementation - January 20 - and some withheld until its final day.

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