Iranian president hails lift of U.S., EU sanctions

IranTEHRAN, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday hailed the lift of nuclear-related sanctions on the Islamic Republic by the United States and European Union after the UN nuclear watchdog confirmed Tehran’s commitments to the July deal.

“Congratulations on this dignity and victory” as “We have opened new chapter in our relations with the world,” Rouhani said in a statement carried by official IRNA news agency.

“Today is the era of a transition from sanctions to development,” Rouhani was quoted as saying, adding that it requires work, innovation, investment, and grasping the opportunities by all Iranians.

On Saturday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Yukiya Amano said in a statement that “Today, I released a report confirming that Iran has completed the necessary preparatory steps to start the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).”

Iran also promises more transparency of its nuclear program, letting the UN nuclear inspectors be able to monitor Tehran’s atomic plan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Mogherini Saturday jointly announced the implementation day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the historic nuclear deal reached last July.

After the UN nuclear watchdog’s announcement, the EU lifted its economic sanctions against Iran. Also, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order to lift sanctions on Iran related to its nuclear program, said the White House.

“This is a historical moment… We have extended our friendship hands to the world and have opened new chapter in our relations with them,” Rouhani said in the statement.

By the lift of “oppressive sanctions … we have crossed a dangerous turn in economy … and our economy has been linked to that of the world.”

The U.S. and EU sanctions on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program in the past years had cut the country’s financial and economic ties with the international financial system and economic network.

“JCPOA is not a threat to any country. The friends of Iran are happy and the rivals should not be concerned. We are not threat to any country. We give this message of peace, stability and security to the region and to the world as we protect Iran’s dignity,” the Iranian president said.

Earlier on Saturday, Iran and the United States also swapped prisoners. Iran released four detained dual-nationals, including the Iranian-American Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

Iran’s prosecutor general announced that “in line with the order of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council and the interests of the country, Iran has released four Iranian dual-national prisoners as a part of prisoners swap.”

Also, U.S. media reported Saturday that Washington would either pardon or drop charges against seven Iranians in exchange for the prisoner exchange.

The seven Iranians — six of whom are dual citizens — were either accused or convicted of violating U.S. sanctions.

Moreover, 14 Iranians, already in the list of international police organization, interpol, will not be prosecuted anymore, Iran said.

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