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U.S. “House” Blocks Iranian Deals, Senate to Issue More Sanctions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Photo caption: President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, to talk about the breakthrough in the Iranian nuclear talks. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Washington–U.S. President Barack Obama said the nuclear deal forged with Iran last year has succeeded in hampering the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and spared the world more conflicts.

On the occasion of the first year anniversary of the Iranian nuclear deal, Obama called the agreement a triumph of “principled diplomacy.”

Obama said that Iran has shipped out 98 percent of its enriched uranium, dismantled two-thirds of its centrifuges, filled its plutonium production reactor with concrete, and “adopted the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated for a nuclear program.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran deal, is an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, plus Germany and the European Union.

“The United States and our negotiating partners have also fully implemented our commitments to lift nuclear-related sanctions, and we will continue to uphold our commitments as long as Iran continues to abide by the deal,” Obama said. “We still have serious differences with Iran, but the United States, our partners, and the world are more secure” because of the deal, he added.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the Iran nuclear agreement “has lived up to its expectations.”

Kerry acknowledged the challenges that remain between the U.S. and Iran, as tensions between them remain high.

“Nobody pretends that some of the challenges we have with Iran have somehow been wiped away. This program was about a nuclear track and about a nuclear program,” Kerry said during his visit to Paris on Thursday.

“A program that so many people said will not work, a program that people said is absolutely doomed to see cheating and be broken and will make the world more dangerous, has, in fact, made the world safer, lived up to its expectations,” Kerry said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House passed legislation banning purchase of heavy water from Iran, a byproduct that can be used for nuclear production.

On a different note, a bipartisan group of senators announced they would sponsor a bill to expand sanctions on Iran for ballistic missile development and “support for terrorism.”Senator Bob Corker and a

bipartisan group of lawmakers said Wednesday they will push for a new round of sanctions against Iran for “illicit” activity outside the scope of the nuclear agreement.

Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the senators would file legislation Thursday that would renew an existing sanctions measure scheduled to expire at the end of the year and impose new sanctions against Iran for ballistic missile activity, terrorism and other activities.