Washington  :Secretary of State John Kerry gestures while giving a foreign policy speech at National Defense University in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. The Obama administration is planning to expand a program to let would-be migrants from Central America apply for refugee status before they attempt to come to the U.S., Secretary of State John Kerry said. AP/PTI(AP1_14_2016_000002B)
Washington :Secretary of State John Kerry gestures while giving a foreign policy speech at National Defense University in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. The Obama administration is planning to expand a program to let would-be migrants from Central America apply for refugee status before they attempt to come to the U.S., Secretary of State John Kerry said. AP/PTI(AP1_14_2016_000002B)

An elated Iran hails ‘new chapter’ as nuclear sanctions are lifted 

Tehran : Iran has “opened a new chapter” in its ties with the world, President Hassan Rouhani said today, after sanctions were lifted under its historic nuclear deal with global powers. The UN’s atomic watchdog confirmed that Iran had complied with its obligations under last summer’s accord and the United States and European Union announced they were lifting the sanctions that have for years crippled the country’s economy.

Western governments hailed the announcement as a milestone though some critics, including Israel, alleged that Tehran was still seeking to develop a nuclear weapon.

The announcement followed news of a prisoner swap between Iran and the United States that will include the release of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, in another sign of thawing relations between the longtime foes. Rouhani, a moderate whose 2013 election victory helped launch a huge diplomatic effort toward the deal struck on July 14 in Vienna, said implementation of the agreement did not harm any country.

“We Iranians have reached out to the world… have opened a new chapter in the relations of Iran with the world,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Rouhani as saying. Iran is “not a threat to any government or nation”. The agreement, he said, “is not a loss for any country”.

Rouhani, who has promised that 2016 will be a “year of prosperity” for Iranians, was to give a press conference later today. Addressing lawmakers in parliament he said Iran, no longer burdened by sanctions, would seek foreign investment of $30-50 billion annually, to dramatically spur growth to eight per cent.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, representing the six world powers, announced the lifting of “multilateral and national” sanctions in Vienna, saying the deal showed that intense diplomacy could resolve even “the most difficult issues”.

Iran can now resume widespread oil exports, long the lifeblood of its economy though Rouhani has moved away from relying on crude. Less than 25 per cent of revenues in this year’s budget will come from oil.

The nuclear deal will also open up business in the 79-million-strong country. The Vienna agreement was nailed down after two years of rollercoaster negotiations following Rouhani’s election. The highly complex deal drew a line under a standoff dating back to 2002 marked by failed diplomatic initiatives, ever-tighter sanctions, defiant nuclear expansion by Iran and threats of military action.

UN Secretary-General welcomed implementation of the landmark Iran nuclear deal as a “significant milestone” and hoped it will boost peace, security and stability in the region. The international sanctions were lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Tehran has met its obligations it committed under the deal agreed between world powers and Iran last year.

“This is a significant milestone that reflects the good faith effort by all parties to fulfil their agreed commitments,” Ban said in a statement.

He welcomed the achievement of Implementation Day under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between the E3+3 (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and China) and Iran. Commending the “dedication and determination” shown on all sides, Ban encouraged the parties to continue to implement the JCPOA in the months and years ahead.

The UN stands ready to support the implementation of the JCPOA in accordance with the relevant decisions of the Security Council, Ban said, adding that this achievement demonstrates that international proliferation concerns are best addressed through dialogue and patient diplomacy.

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