After 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation, world powers and Iran struck a landmark deal on July 14, 2015, to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions — an agreement designed to avert the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and another U.S. military intervention in the Muslim world.
The accord will keep Iran from producing enough material for an atomic weapon for at least 10 years and impose new provisions for inspections of Iranian facilities, including military sites. And it marks a dramatic break from decades of animosity between the United States and Iran, countries that alternatively call each other the "leading state sponsor of terrorism" and the "the Great Satan."
The deal "is not built on trust, it is built on verification," President Barack Obama declared from the White House.
He spoke moments after the formal announcement of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, whose completion comes after more than two weeks of furious diplomacy during which negotiators blew through three self-imposed deadlines. The top American and Iranian diplomats both threatened at points to walk away from the talks.
On July 14, 2015, in Vienna, however, all sides hailed the outcome. Announcing the accord, Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said diplomats "delivered on what the world was hoping for — a shared commitment to peace and to join our hands to make our world safer." The deal, she said, ensures that Iran's nuclear program "will be exclusively peaceful." (AP)