Iran's parliament voted Tuesday to support the implementation of the nuclear deal struck by world powers in Vienna in July.
The deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, would limit Iran's nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. It must still be reviewed by a group of senior clerics in Iran — the 12-member Guardian Council — who could decide to send the bill back to parliament for further discussion, The Associated Press reports.
President Hassan Rouhani's administration hailed Tuesday's vote in support of the plan as a "historic decision."
Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief who helped facilitate the nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and five other nations, also welcomed the news on Twitter.
Of the 290-person parliament, 250 lawmakers were present at the parliament's session. There were 161 votes in favor of the bill, 59 votes against and 13 abstentions, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
NPR's Peter Kenyon tells Newscast that:
"The approval by the Iranian parliament was expected. And now Tehran must make sharp cutbacks in its nuclear program and resolve questions the United Nations nuclear agency has about its past research.
"Iran insists it has no nuclear weapons program, but Western officials say only strict verification can ensure that. Once Iran completes the cutbacks, sanctions relief should follow."
The deal requires inspections of Iran's nuclear sites, which many observers see as a potential sticking point for a country that has resisted oversight of its nuclear program in the past. In an interview with Rouhani last month, NPR's Steve Inskeep pressed the Iranian leader on the issue, asking what might happen when nuclear inspectors ask to see an Iranian military site.
Rouhani acknowledged that while nations have an interest in keeping their defensive capabilities closely held, Iran would cooperate with international inspectors. He said:
"I do believe that all nations do wholeheartedly wish to conserve the secrecy of their defensive doctrine and capabilities. And of course, the International Atomic Energy Agency must be aware of this, and keeping this in mind conduct its inspections, because we all know that if they behave any differently, then no country would live up to the commitments of the additional protocols. But we fully intend to fully collaborate and cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency."
So what happens now? As the Two-Way has reported:
"According to the European Council on Foreign Relations' reading of the deal, the accord is expected to be adopted on Oct. 19, or 'Adoption Day.' That would mark 90 days since the U.N. Security Council signed off on the deal. (The European Union also approved the deal in July.)
"At this point, the U.S. and Europe would draft a plan to drop a series of nuclear-related sanctions. But Iran wouldn't receive sanctions relief until after 'Implementation Day.'
"According to Reuters, Implementation Day happens after the International Atomic Energy Agency verifies that Iran 'has complied with nuclear-related measures.' "