Iranian sanctions lifted after UN confirms compliance with nuclear accord

18 Jan 16

International sanctions on Iran were lifted over the weekend after the United Nations nuclear watchdog confirmed the country had complied with obligations under the US-led nuclear accord, agreed last July.

 

The release of a final report by the International Atomic Energy Agency confirming Iran had held up its commitments to curb its nuclear programme heralded the announcement of “Implementation Day” – the day the international community put their side of the deal into force, lifting sanctions and allowing Iran to reconnect to the global economy.

A joint statement from Iranian foreign minister Javed Zarif and the European high representative Federica Mogherini said both sides believe the deal is strong and fair, meets the requirements of all and will be key to improving regional and international peace, stability and security.

“The achievement clearly demonstrates that with political will, perseverance and through multilateral diplomacy, we can solve the most difficult issues and find practical solutions that are effectively implemented,” they said.

US president Barack Obama spearheaded the deal, which for many marks the foreign policy highlight of his tenure. He said that, for decades, differences between Iran and the US meant their governments never spoke to one another, while Iran moved gradually closer to building a nuclear weapon.

This was ultimately not in the American interest, he said, but every single path the country could have used to build a bomb has now been cut off without resorting to war.

“This is a good day, because, once again, we’re seeing what’s possible with strong American diplomacy,” Obama said.

The landmark deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was agreed between Iran, the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany last July, although the lifting of sanctions was suspended pending confirmation from the IAEA that Iran had held good on plans to scale back its sensitive nuclear activities.

The country will now be able to resume selling oil on the international markets, use the global financial system for trade, access up to $100bn in frozen overseas assets and deal with foreign companies and investors who will be free from fear of western retribution.

“There were many sceptics who said Iran would never deliver on its side of the bargain, but the IAEA has said they have,” said the UK’s foreign secretary Phillip Hammond

“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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