Iran, World Powers Reportedly Reach Historic Nuclear Deal

Marking an achievement sought for years, Iran and six world powers reportedly have agreed to a deal that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling international sanctions.

The historic deal, which was reported early Tuesday in Vienna, comes after years of wrangling between Iran and the U.S. and other world leaders who have long demanded that Iran suspend its nuclear program — which critics say could be used to build a nuclear arsenal — in exchange for tens of billions of dollars in economic sanction relief.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is for domestic purposes, but members of the U.N. Security Council say the nation has the infrastructure to one day produce significant amounts of weapons-grade plutonium.

Under the framework reached in April, Iran agreed to make significant changes to its nuclear infrastructure that would make it nearly impossible to build a weapon. Among those concessions: Redesigning and rebuilding a heavy water research reactor in Arak after getting rid of its core. Iran also agreed to reduce the number of installed centrifuges and to give international inspectors regular access to all its nuclear facilities.

Officials had been hinting for days that a final deal was imminent as negotiators haggled over last-minute details. The exact language of the final deal was not immediately available, but diplomats told the and an agreement was reached after final obstacles were cleared.

“All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people,” an Iranian diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The agreement, which must still get final approval from the U.N. Security Council in the form of a resolution, came amid a flurry of last-minute marathon negotiating that became more intense after missing a key deadline on June 30, and three subsequent targets in July. Each time, the U.S. — negotiating with Iran as part of the P5+1 bloc that includes Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia — warned that it was willing to walk away.

U.N. attempts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions have failed in the past, but a new effort was kickstarted after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013.

An interim deal was reached in November, but two deadlines for a final agreement were missed later in the year, setting the stage for another round of talks in Vienna.

Among the biggest sticking points was Iran’s insistence that a U.N. arms embargo on its ballistic missile program be lifted.