President Obama says agreement with Iran will strictly limit its nuclear program

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday that the first step agreement with Iran will place strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop nuclear arms.

Obama made the remarks during a statement on Saturday to announce an agreement that will halt the progress of Iran's nuclear program for the first time in close to a decade. He said the agreement will also roll back key parts of Iran's nuclear program.

"Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment, and neutralizing part of its stockpile," Obama said. "Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges-which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran's nuclear facilities, and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments."

Obama said the limitations to Iran's program cut off the country's most likely path to a bomb. The agreement also creates a six-month window for more negotiations to take place while Iran is unable to advance its program.

Obama said that in return for Iran's concessions, the U.S. and its allies will provide Iran modest relief while continuing to apply stringent sanctions.

"We will refrain from imposing new sanctions, and we will allow the Iranian government access to a portion of the revenue that they have been denied through sanctions," Obama said. "But the broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously. And if Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the relief, and ratchet up the pressure."

Obama said that while significant challenges remain ahead, the U.S. will employ strong and principled diplomacy on behalf of a world of greater peace.

"The first step that we have taken today marks the most significant and tangible progress that we have made with Iran since I took office," Obama said. "Now, we must use the months ahead to pursue a lasting and comprehensive settlement that would resolve an issue that has threatened our security - and the security of our allies - for decades."