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Obama hails nuclear deal as step toward ‘more hopeful world’

VIENNA — Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal on Tuesday, capping more than a decade of negotiations with an agreement that could transform the Middle East.

U.S. President Barack Obama hailed a step toward a "more hopeful world" and Iran‘s President Hassan Rouhani said it proved that "constructive engagement works". But Israel pledged to do what it could to halt what it called an "historic surrender".

The agreement will now be debated in the U.S. Congress, but Obama said he would veto any measure to block it.

"This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction," Obama said. "We should seize it."

Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

Iran will mothball for at least a decade the majority of its centrifuges used to enrich uranium and sharply reduce its low-enriched uranium stockpile.

The agreement is a political triumph for both Obama, who has long promised to reach out to historic enemies, and Rouhani, a pragmatist elected two years ago on a vow to reduce the isolation of his nation of almost 80 million people.

Both face scepticism from powerful hardliners at home in nations that referred to each other as "the Great Satan" and a member of the "Axis of Evil".

"Today is the end to acts of tyranny against our nation and the start of cooperation with the world," Rouhani said in a televised address. "This is a reciprocal deal. If they stick to it, we will. The Iranian nation has always observed its promises and treaties."

ISRAEL SAYS NO

JERUSALEM — Israel‘s security cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran and said Israel was not bound by it, a statement from the prime minister‘s office said.

The announcement echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s own statement before the meeting, in which he described the deal as a "stunning, historic mistake" and added: "Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves."

OBAMA MET WITH NETANYAHU

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama underscored the United States‘ commitment to Israel‘s security in a phone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said on Tuesday.

Netanyahu has expressed opposition to the nuclear agreement the United States and other world powers reached with Iran.

Obama noted on the call that U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter will be traveling to Israel next week, the White House said in a statement.

IRANIANS DANCE IN THE STREET

DUBAI/BEIRUT — Young Iranian men and women danced in streets in parts of Tehran and motorists honked car horns to cheer an historic nuclear accord with world powers they hope will end years of economic sanctions and decades of international isolation.

Millions of Iranians had followed the talks closely for months with the anticipation that Tuesday‘s deal would allow the economy, battered by years of sanctions, to stabilize and make their daily lives easier.

In the capital‘s affluent north, motorists played loud music from car stereos and young people blew South African-style ‘vuvuzela‘ horns, scenes that Tehran normally witnesses only when the country qualifies the football World Cup.

Residents said police turneda blind eye to the festivities, and some even joined in. A woman in Vanak Square in north Tehran told Reuters by phone that people were buying sweets and handing them out on the streets.

Some young people draped the national flag over their shoulders, brandished posters of President Hassan Rouhani, made victory signs and shouted “Rouhani, thank you!”

CLINTON MARKS ‘HISTORIC‘ MOMENT

WASHINGTON — U.S. Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton welcomed the nuclear deal with Iran but emphasized that enforcement would be crucial, adding she had concerns about Tehran’s “bad behavior.”

“This is a very important moment,” the former U.S. secretary of state said, speaking at the U.S. Capitol after meeting with House of Representatives Democrats.

"I think this is an important step that puts the lid on Iran‘s nuclear programs," Clinton said.

At the same time, Clinton emphasized that rigorous policing of the deal, including unfettered access to key Iranian program sites, would be critical to its success. She added that if she is elected president next year, she would be “absolutely devoted to ensuring that agreement is followed.”

She also made clear that apart from the nuclear deal she would push to hold Iran accountable for state-sponsored terrorism and human-rights abuses. And she said she continued to view Iran as an “existential threat to Israel.”

As the frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton’s careful remarks illustrated the delicacy of the issue for her.

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