Iran and world powers on Thursday reached a framework agreement to halt the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme for at least 10 years that would satisfy western powers led by the United States that Iran is no pursuing a nuclear weapons programme as feared.
The agreement comes after 18 months of negotiations and 12 years of threats of war between the West and Iran.
Iran and the six major powers (P5+1) or E3+3, which include, France, the UK, Germany, US, Russia and China, have come to a preliminary agreement on the former's nuclear programme.
Under the proposed deal, Iran would shut more than two-thirds of its installed centrifuges capable of producing uranium that could be used to build a bomb, dismantle a reactor that could produce plutonium, and subject the reactors to verification.
The tentative agreement was reached after eight days of marathon talks in Switzerland. It was also agreed to reach a final agreement by 30 June, after which all sanctions on Iran will be lifted.
The framework agreement clears the way for negotiations and settlement, but sanctions on Iran will continue until the final agreement is reached.
Iranians celebrated the end of the Iran-West tussle that could have led to another war in the Persian Gulf, while President Barrack Obama said the ''historic understanding with Iran'' made the world safer. He reminded the world of the nuclear weapons pact that the US and the former Soviet Union had entered into to avert catastrophe.
Iranian women profusely thanked Iranian foreign minister and President Hassan Rouhani. "Thank you, Rouhani," they chanted.
Both President Obama and his Iranian counterpart were cautious in their remarks. Obama cautioned that "success is not guaranteed."
The agreement is yet not final and many details still need to be worked out. Also, negotiators involved in the marathon talks said the understandings reached could still collapse. It is only a framework and the actual deal, which would include finer details, would be much harder to reach, they pointed out.
IAEA director general Yukiya Amano issued a statement today regarding the announcement by E3+3 and Iran in Lausanne:
"The IAEA welcomes the announcement by E3+3 and Iran on the key parameters for a joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. With the endorsement of the IAEA's board of governors, the agency will be ready to fulfill its role in verifying the implementation of nuclear related measures, once the agreement is finalised."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the team of international negotiators and Iran on achieving a political framework that paves the way for an historic comprehensive joint plan of action on Iran's nuclear programme to be achieved by 30 June.
''That comprehensive agreement will provide for substantial limits on Iran's nuclear programme and for the removal of all sanctions,'' said Ban in a statement released by his spokesperson.