Nightly News   |  January 12, 2014

Iran Nuclear Deal Begins Jan. 20

Iran has agreed to curb its most sensitive nuclear activities and it will receive $4.2 billion in frozen assets in return. NBC News’ Kristen Welker reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> to freeze most of iran's nuclear program , at least temporarily, was announced by u.s. and iranian officials today. in return, the u.s. and other countries will lift some of the crippling economic sanctions imposed against iran . kristen welker is at the white house for us. kristen, good evening.

>> reporter: it's the first time in more than a decade that iran has agreed to curb it's nuclear program . president obama called the agreement an important step forward but some lawmakers argue it doesn't have enough teeth. on a diplomatic trip in paris, secretary of state john kerry welcomed the news of the nuclear deal with iran and also answered critics, who argue the obama administration is too eager to trust a country that has a history of cheating.

>> as this agreement takes effect, we will be extraordinarily vigilant in our verification and monitoring of iran 's actions.

>> reporter: the deal calls for iran to freeze parts of its nuclear program . six countries, including the united states , will gradually ease about $7 billion worth of economic sanctions and only if u.n. inspectors confirm that iran is complying. the deal is short term, six months, giving negotiators time to hammer out a long-term agreement. monitoring reacts from tehran.

>> speaking on state tv, deputy foreign minister said all sticking points had been resolved and that iran would be receiving some $4.2 billion in seized oil revenues while tehran would scale back its enrichment program and allow frequent inspections.

>> reporter: in washington, the deal was met with deep skepticism. majority house leader eric cantore called the agreement deeply flawed and says it does nothing to reverse iran's nuclear program but adam schiff disagreed.

>> this is the best opportunity diplomatically to resolve and put an end to this nuclear weapons program or program with that potential in iran . i think we have to pursue it.

>> reporter: while the debate continues on capitol hill , foreign policy experts say now the hard work begins for negotiators.

>> what's coming next is the real challenge. it's to convince the iranians that a project that they have spent 20 years and billions of dollars on, that has involved thousands and thousands of people and is the pride of the iranian revolutionary guard core should actually be dismantled. that's going to be very difficult.

>> reporter: a majority of senators, including 13 democrats support a bill that would impose new sanctions on iran if the country violates the deal. the president has threatened to veto the legislation, arguing it could derail