Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles at the end of a press conference, Sept. 27, 2013, in New York, N.Y.
John Minchillo/AP

Iran nuclear deal to take effect Jan. 20

Updated

Iran will begin implementing the terms of a nuclear deal with major world powers later this month, according to a spokeswoman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

“Capitals have confirmed the result of the talks in Geneva [which] will be implemented from January 20,” spokesoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters in Tehran Sunday.

Under the interim agreement reached in November between Iran and the world powers–Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States–Iran will begin destroying its stockpile of highly-enriched uranium in exchange for an ease in economic sanctions. During those six months while Iran works to neutralize its stockpile, the world powers will continue negotiations on a permanent deal.

The historic deal reached in November was a long-sought victory for President Obama, which has made curbing Iran’s nuclear program one of its key foreign policy issues.

As the United States has made clear many times, our absolute top priority in these negotiations is preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Secretary John Kerry said in a statement released Sunday.

President Obama called Sunday’s news an “important step forward,” but acknowledged the road forward would be difficult. “I have no illusions about how hard it will be to achieve this objective, but for the sake of our national security and the peace and security of the world, now is the time to succeed.”

Weekends with Alex Witt, 1/12/14, 2:10 PM ET

Iran to start destroying enriched uranium

Alex Witt talks to NBC’s Kristen Welker about the nuclear deal with Iran and the reaction from the White House and Congress.

Iran and Nuclear Policy

Iran nuclear deal to take effect Jan. 20

Updated