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US, EU lift sanctions on Iran

By Agencies - Jan 17,2016 - Last updated at Jan 17,2016

Pedestrians cross a street in central Tehran, Iran, on Saturday (AP photo by Vahid Salemi)

The United States implemented its side of the Iran nuclear deal on Saturday, lifting a raft of sanctions imposed on Tehran to rein in its weapons programme, Agence France-Presse reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry was in Vienna to receive a report from the UN nuclear watchdog certifying that Iran had honoured its side of the bargain.

Under authority delegated to him by US President Barack Obama, Kerry signed documents confirming the US government had received the report and waivers to implement the lifting of US Congressional sanctions.

"I hereby confirm that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified that Iran has fully implemented its required commitments... . The US sanctions-related commitments... are now in effect," Kerry said.

Separately, in Washington, Obama signed an order revoking previous executive orders imposing further sanctions beyond the scope of the Congressional sanctions, AFP reported.

Also in Vienna European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said multinational and national nuclear-related sanctions on Iran have been lifted following Tehran's compliance with July's atomic deal with major powers.

"As Iran has fulfilled its commitments, today, multilateral and national economic and financial sanctions related to Iran's nuclear programme are lifted in accordance" with the July deal, Mogherini said, according to AFP.

 

Iran President Hassan Rouhani said the nuclear deal was a “glorious victory”, while US House Speaker Paul Ryan denounced the deal.

Earlier on Saturday, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran has curtailed its nuclear programme as agreed with world powers, Reuters reported.

“Iran has carried out all measures required under the [July deal] to enable implementation day [of the deal] to occur,” the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement.

Also on Saturday, Iran and the United States eased decades of tension with the announcement of a prisoner swap, according to Reuters.

With the removal of the sanctions, oil-producer Iran will now be back on the world economic stage.

The sanctions, mostly imposed in the last five years, have cut off the country of 80 million people from the global financial system, drastically reduced Iran’s exports and imposed severe economic hardship on ordinary Iranians.

Leading up to the sanctions announcement, the United States and Iran took steps to thaw the cold relations.

In an unusual move, Obama pardoned three Iranian-Americans charged for violating sanctions against Iran, a lawyer for one of the men said, while prosecutors moved to drop charges against four Iranians outside the United States.

Iran will also free five Americans including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and a Christian minister.

Iran’s expected return to an already glutted oil market is one of the factors contributing to a global rout in oil prices, which fell below $30 a barrel this week for the first time in 12 years.

 

Tehran says it could boost exports by 500,000 barrels per day within weeks.

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