TEHRAN: A deal with world powers ended a “manufactured crisis” over Iran´s nuclear programme, its foreign minister said Wednesday after negotiating the accord,which drew furious objections from US lawmakers.
President Barack Obama faced a bruising battle to sell the deal in Washington as Congressional leaders queued up to denounce it.
In return for curbs on its nuclear programme for at least 10 years, Iran will be freed from Western and UN sanctions that have crippled its economy.
Obama is to hold a news conference Wednesday to try to convince Americans of the benefits of an agreement that has drawn opposition from US allies in the region, including Israel.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who led Iran´s negotiating team in the final 18 straight days of talks that culminated in Tuesday´s deal, said on his return home that common ground had been found with the six powers led by the United States.
“We will take measures, and they will do their part,” he told reporters at Tehran´s Mehrabad airport.
“It will happen in around four months from now,” he said of the deal´s formal implementation.
Zarif´s comments came after a night of celebrations in Tehran, where his own name was chanted in the streets by joyous Iranians.
Many festooned their cars with balloons and danced in the street to celebrate the prospect of an end to long years of economic hardship caused by Western sanctions.
“Maybe the economy is going to change, especially for the young people. I was thinking about leaving, but now I will stay to see what happens,” said Giti, 42, a computer programmer.
The sentiment was shared by most Iranian newspapers.
Financial daily Donyaye Eqtesad said Iran had “entered the post-sanctions age.”
“Iran Siege Broken,” headlined the moderate daily Ghanoon.In Washington, however, the deal came under intense scrutiny.
The speaker of the Republican-led US House of Representatives, John Boehner, said it was “likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world”.
But Zarif hit back at the deal´s biggest critic, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the region´s sole if undeclared nuclear state, who branded the agreement a “historic mistake”.
“Netanyahu kicked up a fuss, as he is upset that Iran managed to get sanctions lifted and prevent a manufactured crisis,” Zarif said.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond headed to Israel on Wednesday to explain the deal in person. He also voiced hope London could reopen its embassy in Tehran, which was closed in 2011 after being stormed by a mob.