World oil prices fell Monday after world powers and Iran reached a deal over the country's nuclear program.
The deal, announced Sunday, gives Tehran six months to increase access to inspectors at its nuclear sites, in exchange for keeping the central elements of its uranium program. The deal envisions lifting some of the sanctions that have been crippling the country's economy, which could boost crude oil supplies to the global economy.As part of the interim deal, Iran agreed with the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany to destroy its stockpile of weapons-grade uranium; limit enrichment of uranium to 5 percent, far below the level needed for nuclear weapons; and give inspectors daily access to select nuclear facilities. In exchange, Iran will get $7 billion in financial relief (most of that through limited oil sales). Sanctions on autos, gold and chemicals will also be lifted.
Sanctions against Iran could be eased as soon as December, France's foreign minister said on Monday.
"A Europe-wide decision is necessary" to ease EU sanctions on Iran, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio. "That's expected in several weeks, for a partial lifting that is targeted, reversible."
The United States and U.N. have separate sanctions.In an interview immediately after the deal was announced, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the agreement that he helped broker.
"We will now be able to have greater inspection, greater knowledge, [and] greater restraint," of Iran's facilities," Kerry told CBS News' Margaret Brennan. "And that will expand the amount of time it would take for them to break out and create a nuclear weapon."
When asked if he was skeptical that Iran would comply with the deal, Kerry replied, "I think everybody has a right to be skeptical because there are indications that there are people in Iran who have wanted to pursue a weapons program, that there have been secret facilities. That’s why we don't take anything at face value."
The agreement reached on Sunday will allow Iran to keep the central elements of its uranium program while stopping its enrichment at a level lower than what is needed for nuclear arms. In addition to a six-month window for Iran to allow more U.N. access to nuclear sites, sanctions will be eased -- notably in the oil, automotive and aviation industries -- though not ended.The agreement is a first step -- one that Israel has condemned as a "historic" mistake that effectively accepts Iran as a threshold nuclear weapons state. Israel has found common cause with Saudi Arabia, which shares concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran and Tehran's growing regional influence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to criticize the deal, saying this relief would allow Iran to get closer to making a bomb. "We cannot and will not allow a regime that calls for the destruction of Israel to obtain the means to achieve this goal," he said.House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called the interim deal with Iran "dangerous," and added that "any kind of deal with this regime in Iran is not worth the paper it's written on."
"Since when do we trust Iran?" Cantor said on "CBS This Morning" on Monday. " Iran has demonstrated again and again it cannot be trusted. I believe that the attitude should be 'mistrust and verify.' And what this agreement does is it just allows Iran to continue with all that it has in terms of centrifuges. It doesn't require any dismantling. It allows for the enrichment up to 5 percent, which used to be something that we wouldn't stand for."
On his return to Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif told state television that the country was prepared for quick follow-up negotiations to keep the deal on track.
"We are ready to begin the final stage of nuclear agreement from tomorrow," said Zarif, who was greeted by hundreds of cheering students late Sunday.