WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the nuclear deal with Iran offered a chance to move in a "new direction" in relations with Tehran, but promised a skeptical Israel that Washington would not abandon it.
"Our differences are real. The difficult history between the nations cannot be ignored. It is possible to change," Obama said. "This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it."
The US president nevertheless promised to "continue our unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel's security, efforts that go beyond what any administration has done before."
Read: Iran, big powers clinch landmark nuclear deal
Obama, speaking at the White House, said every pathway for Iran to get a nuclear weapon was cut off under the agreement.
The deal was built on verification, not trust, he said, and it would be "irresponsible" to reject. The president said the deal did not resolve all of the differences between the historic foes and noted Washington would maintain sanctions on Tehran for human rights violations and other issues.
The deal represents a foreign policy win for Obama, who was criticised as a 2008 presidential candidate for proposing that the United States reach out to its enemies. Under the deal, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in exchange for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.
Read: Iran to have access to over $100 billion when deal implemented
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.
Reaching the agreement did not bury the controversy of one of the most bitterly contested diplomatic issues of the day: the European Union called it a “sign of hope for the entire world”, while Israel called it an “historic surrender”.
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.
Nuclear deal a 'starting point' for trust: Iran president
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said a nuclear deal agreed with world powers on Tuesday is a "starting point" for trust, as long as the accord is honoured.
I'm pleased to announce that after 23 months of negotiations this admin managed to reach a new point, a new chapter in history #IranDeal.— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) July 14, 2015
"If this deal is implemented correctly... we can gradually eliminate distrust," he said in a live television address, alluding to Iran's long-strained relations with leading Western states.
"This is a mutual deal, a reciprocal deal," he added.