Sanctions against Iran lifted after compliance with nuclear deal

The Guardian – By Saeed Kamali Dehghan/Iran correspondent – Jan 16, 2016

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Photo: US secretary of state John Kerry (left) meets with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) in Vienna. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/AP

IAEA declares that Tehran has fulfilled its obligations, triggering dismantling of network of punitive measures and normalisation of Iran’s relations with west.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, has hailed a “glorious victory” after senior diplomats in Vienna formally announced the lifting of sanctions against the country following confirmations from the UN that Tehran had fulfilled its obligations under last year’s nuclear accord.

A final report by the International Atomic Energy Agency released late on Saturday triggered the much anticipated announcement of “Implementation Day”, which puts Iran on the brink of an extraordinary transformation, reconnecting it to the global economy.

“Today we have achieved Implementation Day of the joint comprehensive plan of action,” Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a joint statement read at the UN in the Austrian capital in front of the world media.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry – who was also in Vienna, said the sanctions termination provisions of Iran’s landmark nuclear agreement were now in effect. Barack Obama delegated authority to Kerry to make the determination. At the same time, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the EU and the UN were also lifted.

The move came after a remarkable day that saw the release of four dual nationals and a teenage student in a prisoner swap with the US. They included the Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, who had been held on charges of spying for over a year.

The Iranian-Americans were released in exchange for seven Iranian nationals held in US prisons, apparently for violating sanctions. The timing of the prisoner swap suggests that the issue had been discussed on the sidelines of the nuclear talks, despite denial from both sides.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, who is due to deliver a live TV address on Sunday, reacted on Twitter by calling for a push for global peace.

Kerry, meanwhile, said the American prisoners “should be on their way home”. “I am very happy to say, as we speak, we have received confirmation that five Americans that have been unjustly detained in Iran have been released,” he said in a statement. “They should be on their way home to their families before long.”

The UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, welcomed the implementation of the nuclear accord and said: “This achievement demonstrates that international proliferation concerns are best addressed through dialogue and patient diplomacy.”

Earlier in the day, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, had hailed the milestone as “a good day” for Iran and for the international community. In the words of a report by leading Russian investment firm Renaissance Capital, Iran is “the last remaining sizable global economy that has been cut off from international capital to reopen”.

The UK’s foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, said: “The nuclear deal with Iran, in which Britain played a major role, makes the Middle East and the wider world a safer place. Years of patient and persistent diplomacy, and difficult technical work, have borne fruit as we now implement the deal.

“There were many sceptics who said Iran would never deliver on its side of the bargain, but the independent International Atomic Energy Agency has said they have. Tonnes of uranium have been shipped out of Iran, thousands of centrifuges have been taken out of use and the core has been removed from the Arak reactor. Iran’s nuclear programme has been substantially rolled back, in return for the lifting of sanctions and the economic benefits that will bring.

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Posted by Teri Perticone

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