An agreement has been reached between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

The agreement, announced by European Union policy chief Catherine Ashton after days of talks in Geneva, is a first step towards resolving a decade-old stand-off between Tehran and the West.

The deal between the Islamic state and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia was nailed down after more than four days of negotiations.

US President Barack Obama has hailed the deal as an important first step towards a comprehensive solution to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Speaking from the White House, Obama said Iran could not use its next-generation centrifuges under the deal and that the substantial limitations under the agreement “cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb”.

He added that if Iran did not meet its commitments during a six-month period, the United States would turn off sanctions relief and “ratchet up the pressure”.

“While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal,” Obama said.

“For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague said the agreement was “very important and encouraging”, adding that it meant “the nuclear programme won’t move forward for six months”.

Iran will get access to $4.2bn (£2.6bn) in foreign exchange as part of the accord, a Western diplomat said. see more

source: skynews