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Iran, World Powers Reach Nuclear Deal 

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(GENEVA) -- Iran and six world powers reached a preliminary deal Sunday morning to freeze key parts of Tehran's nuclear program in return for temporary relief on economic sanctions.

The initial six-month deal, which came after four days of negotiations, was sealed at a ceremony in Geneva's Palace of Nations. Under the agreement, Iran is required to halt much of its program and roll back certain elements, including halting enrichment above 5% and neutralizing its stockpile of uranium.

In addition, the country has committed to "unprecedented transparency and intrusive monitoring of its program," according to a White House release.

The deal is the first to halt the progress of the country's nuclear program in nearly a decade, according to President Obama.

The tough sanctions imposed by his administration and allies led to the preliminary deal, he said in an address. "These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy and with the election of a new Iranian president earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged," he added.

The United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China all helped to facilitate the negotiation. But public officials' opinions on the outcome are varied.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who travelled to Geneva to help with the deal, said, "The deal is the beginning and first step... It leads us into the negotiation – so that we guarantee that while we are negotiating for the dismantling, while we are negotiating for the tougher positions, they will not grow their program and their capacity to threaten Israel."

British Foreign Secretary William Hague lauded the Iranian nuclear deal and Kerry's work in negotiating it. Hague called the agreement a "good deal for the Middle East and for the world."

"I particularly want to pay tribute to the work of Secretary Kerry, who has been so determined throughout the negotiations with Iran to make sure that this is a robust deal, that everything that should be covered is covered, and that every commitment that we wanted from Iran is as strong as it should be," Hague said.

But Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who views the Iranian regime as posing an existential threat to the Jewish state, called the deal a "historic mistake."

In the U.S., Senate Republicans are expressing skepticism about the deal, saying Sunday morning they are likely to push for new sanctions against Iran that would take effect in six months if the agreement is breached.

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who is also chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says the Senate should not "abstain from preparations to impose new sanctions" if talks with Iran fail. He says the legislation the Senate will consider would include a six month window before any sanctions go into place.

"I continue to support a two-track policy of diplomacy and sanctions with Iran. The interim agreement reached is but a beginning and a product of that policy," Menendez said. 

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