Friday, 20 July, 2018

Sanctions on Iran lifted

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The United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran and released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had followed through on promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program.

“Today, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] has verified that Iran has completed its commitment,” said European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who issued a joint statement in Vienna with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who gave the same statement in Farsi.

As Iran has fulfilled its commitments, sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program are lifted in accordance with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” she said.

She added that all sides are convinced that the deal is strong and fair.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog also confirmed Iran’s measures.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Iran’s actions a “critical milestone.”

“To get to this point … Iran has undertaken significant steps, that many — and I do mean many — people doubted would ever come to pass,” he said, speaking in Vienna.

“In return, for the steps that Iran has taken, the United States and the EU will immediately lift nuclear-related sanctions,” he said.

Kerry said that before negotiations began, Iran was adding to its stockpile of enriched uranium. He said the country has now reduced that stockpile to less than 300 kg, shipping it to Russia where it will be processed.

“That means that their current level of enriched uranium is two per cent of what it was before we completed the agreement, and the rest is shipped out of the country,” said Kerry.

He added that Iran has dismantled some of its nuclear reactors that had the potential to produce fuel for nuclear weapons.

“They have modified the entire reactor so it will only be used for peaceful purposes,” he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed executive orders to lift the sanctions Saturday afternoon after the IAEA’s announcement.

Lifting sanctions will allow Iran to immediately recoup some $100 billion US in assets frozen overseas. Iran will also see huge benefits from new oil, trade and financial opportunities.

Image: Iranians hold the Iran’s national flags as they celebrate in the street of Tehran, after nuclear talks between Iran and world powers ended in Vienna, Austria. Photo: EPA

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