New era for Iran as West lifts curbs

New era for Iran as West lifts curbs

Iran has “opened a new chapter”  in its ties with the world, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, after sanctions were lifted under its historic nuclear deal with global powers.

The United States and Iranian presidents hailed the implementation of Tehran’s nuclear deal as historic, but new American sanctions threatened fresh tensions.

The UN’s atomic watchdog confirmed in Vienna late on Saturday that Iran had complied with its obligations under last summer’s accord, leading the United States and the European Union to lift sanctions.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate whose 2013 election victory helped launch a huge diplomatic effort toward the deal struck on July 14, 2015, in Vienna, said the implementation was a crucial moment for his 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 him as saying.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said engagement with Iran had provided a “unique opportunity”. But Obama also noted that “profound differences” with Tehran remained over its “destabilising activities”.

In a sign of those differences, Washington announced it had decided to target the Islamic republic’s ballistic missile programme with new measures.

Five Iranian nationals and a network of companies based in the United Arab Emirates and China were added to an American blacklist, the US Treasury Department announced.

The White House had threatened to impose the measures last month but withdrew them after Rouhani hit out at both their timing and intent. Missiles were not part of the nuclear agreement.

Asked before the new sanctions were announced how Iran would react to fresh measures, Rouhani on Sunday had said: “Any action will be met by a reaction.”  The new sanctions came after four Iranian-Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, left Tehran following their release in a prisoner swap with the US.

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