It's not a final deal, but participants say it will lead to one by the end of June: President Obama heralded a framework nuclear understanding with Iran as a "historic" agreement and warned Congress today against taking action that could upend the progress. "The issues at stake here are bigger than politics," Obama said. "These are matters of war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on the facts." Obama spoke hours after negotiators in Switzerland reached a framework agreement outlining limits on Iran's nuclear program and setting the stage for work on a final deal over the next three months. The president called the agreement "a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives," adding that "if Iran cheats, the world will know it."
In Switzerland earlier, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed what she called a "decisive step" after more than a decade of work. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif followed with the same statement in Farsi. Secretary of State John Kerry and the top diplomats of Britain, France, and Germany also briefly took the stage behind them. Mogherini said the seven nations would now start writing the text of a final accord. She cited several agreed-upon restrictions on Iran's enrichment of material that can be used either for energy production or in nuclear warheads, though the New York Times observes that "significant differences" remain on key issues. Crucially for the Iranians, economic sanctions related to its nuclear programs are to be rolled back after the UN nuclear agency confirms compliance.