Iran nuclear agreement: A timeline

  • The Final Push

    September 2012 - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers his famous "red line" speech at the U.N. General Assembly. In the speech, which featured a cartoon bomb drawing and Netanyahu wielding a red marker, Netanyahu insisted that Iran's nuclear program could have bomb-making capabilities by mid to late 2013. Many feared it was a warning that Israel was preparing to strike Iran directly.

    August 2013 - Hassan Rouhani defeats several hardline candidates to become Iran's president, declaring his country ready for serious nuclear talks. By now, Iran has about 20,000 centrifuges and the U.S. estimates the country is only a few months away from nuclear weapons capability.

    September 2013 - Rouhani and Mr. Obama speak by telephone, the highest-level exchange between the two countries since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. President Obama says afterwards the phone call led him to believe "we can reach a comprehensive solution." U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif begin their diplomatic exchanges.

    November 2013 - Iran and the six powers announce an interim agreement that temporarily curbs Tehran's nuclear program and unfreezes some Iranian assets. The deal sets the stage for extended negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear accord.

    March 2014 - Revelations surface that the U.S. has been privately pushing Israel to stop its years-old covert program of assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists.

    July 2014 - Talks miss the deadline for a final pact. A four-month extension is agreed.

    November 2014 - The final pact remains elusive. Talks are extended a further seven months.

    March 2015 - A group of GOP senators, led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., send a letter to Iran threatening that any agreement between the two countries may be short-lived unless Congress approves the deal. The Obama administration slams the move as "unconstitutional" and an attempt to torpedo negotiations. Iran dismisses the letter, but still calls on diplomats to explain its purpose.

    April 2015 - A framework deal is announced, outlining long-term restrictions on Iran's nuclear program and the removal of many international sanctions. Much remains unresolved, however.

    July 14, 2015 - World powers and Iran announce long-term, comprehensive nuclear agreement.