TODAY   |  November 24, 2013

Iran nuclear deal could have vast implications

Iran and six of the world's powers agreed on a "first step deal” that is meant to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions, which has the potential to reshape relationships throughout the Middle East. NBC’s Ann Curry reports.

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>> secretary of state john kerry and other world leaders putting the final touches on it all in geneva after a marathon negotiating session. it's a six-month agreement that will curb iran's nuclear program by limiting their ability to enrich uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons . as for iran , the upside for that country, it eases billions in harsh sanctions against the country. meantime our ally israel is furious. israel's prime minister benjamin netanyahu calling the agreement a, quote, historic mistake.

>> but president obama is praising the deal. he spoke about it last night.

>> as president and commander in chief i will do what is necessary to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon , but i have a profound responsibility to try to resolve our differences peacefully rather than rush towards conflict. today we have a real opportunity to achieve a comprehensive peaceful settlement. i believe we must test it.

>> we have our team fanned out across the globe covering the latest. we want to begin with ann curry looking at this iran deal live in geneva this morning. good morning, what can you tell us?

>> reporter: it was a dramatic moment late last night when after four days of marathon bargaining lasting deep into the night and involving no less than seven of the world's foreign ministers , a deal was announced at nearly 3:00 a.m . secretary of state john kerry says the deal allows iran to continue enriching uranium, but at levels well below what is necessary for bomb making. it freezes or rolls back other parts of iran's nuclear program . that includes a much disputed heavy water plant that could produce plutonium for bombs. iran 's foreign minister zarif told us in an exclusive interview that the deal does not halt construction of the plant. in return iran receives limited and reversible relief from sanctions, estimated at a value of $6 billion to $7 billion. while some have hailed the deal as an important first step toward a final comprehensive nuclear agreement, both iran 's foreign minister and secretary kerry were cautious.

>> it is not hard to prove peaceful intent if that's what you want to do. we are anxious to try to make certain that this deal ultimately will do exactly that, prove it.

>> if congress imposes new sanctions, what will iran 's reaction be?

>> if there are new sanctions, then there's no deal, very clear.

>> the first step is dead.

>> there is no deal because of inability of one party to maintain its side of the bargain.

>> end of the first-step deal and all hopes for a final comprehensive agreement ?

>> well, i can only say that any new sanctions will be the end of the deal.

>> reporter: as more details of the deal emerge, the political fallout is expected to intensify in both the yunltd states and iran and elsewhere as this deal has vast implications in reshaping relationships throughout the middle east , erica.

>> ann curry in geneva this