The United States and other world powers have reached an outline of a nuclear deal with Iran that would lift international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for new limitations on its nuclear program.
President Obama in comments from the White House Rose Garden described it as a "historic" agreement that would leave the United States and its allies safe by preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
"This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take" to get to a nuclear weapon," Obama said.
Under the framework, negotiators would continue to negotiate through June 30 to reach a final deal.
"Big day: #EU, P5+1, and #Iran now have parameters to resolve major issues on nuclear program," Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryA new president, a new North Korea strategy Trump hopes Russia is listening; America, are you listening? Clinton at risk of being upstaged MORE tweeted
. "Back to work soon on a final deal."
Congress will closely scrutinize the framework deal, which Obama has made the centerpiece of his second-term foreign policy agenda.
He faces skepticism from U.S. ally Israel and lawmakers in both parties, who question whether Iran will abide by a deal and whether the agreement will ensure Tehran does not backtrack.
Lawmakers are considering legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran. If such a measure were to be approved by Congress, the White House has warned it could kill the international talks.
Iranian officials quickly declared victory, arguing the deal would lift all international sanctions on the regime while allowing it to continue to develop nuclear power.
"All Security Council resolutions will be terminated, all U.S. nuclear-related secondary sanctions as well as EU sanctions will be terminated" during the term of the agreement, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a press conference.
"None of those measures include closing our facilities. The proud people of Iran would never accept that. Our facilities will continue. We will continue enriching, we will continue research and development, our heavy water reactor will be modernized and we will continue the Fordow facility," Zarif said.
European Union Foreign Affairs Minister Federica Mogherini said the EU will terminate economic and financial sanctions under the agreement, and the U.S. will cease implementation of sanctions simultaneous with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying Iran is abiding by its nuclear commitments. United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran would also be lifted.
"When we implement our measures, there won't be no sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran," she said.
She also described new restrictions on Iran that would limit its enrichment capacity and its stockpile of uranium fuel.
Iran would commit to only having an enrichment facility in Natanz. Its Fordo site, which until recently had been hidden from the international community, would be converted to a nuclear physics and technology center, Mogherini said.
The Arak heavy water reactor also will be redesigned so that it can not produce weapons-grade plutonium, Mogherini said. Spent fuel will be exported, she said.
Iran is also agreeing to allow IAEA inspectors access to the nuclear sites to clarify "past and present issues"
“We will now work to write the text of a joint technical plan of action” in coming weeks and months," Mogherini said. “We are committed to complete our efforts by June 30th."
—This story was updated at 2:25 p.m.