Sunday 25 September 2016

Iran hails nuclear deal as victory for everyone except extremists

Published 17/01/2016 | 02:31

US secretary of state John Kerry confirms Iran has complied with the deal and lifts America's nuclear-related sanctions (AP)
US secretary of state John Kerry confirms Iran has complied with the deal and lifts America's nuclear-related sanctions (AP)

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has said a landmark nuclear deal has satisfied all parties - except extremists.

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In a further sign of the thaw between Iran and the US, a plane carrying three Americans released by Tehran landed in Geneva. Swiss foreign ministry spokesman Jean-Marc Crevoisier confirmed that the jet that touched down after dark on Sunday was the one with the Americans on board. From Geneva, they are to be flown to a US air base in Germany.

Mr Rouhani said of the accord: "In (implementing) the deal, all are happy except Zionists, warmongers, sowers of discord among Islamic nations and extremists in the US. The rest are happy."

Mr Rouhani said the deal, which lifts economic sanctions in exchange for a limitation of Iran's nuclear ambitions, "opened new windows for engagement with the world".

A strong supporter of the agreement, Mr Rouhani sent out a celebratory tweet calling it a "glorious victory" on Saturday night, while the speeches in Vienna were still taking place.

Mr Rouhani also said the deal was a triumph for all negotiating parties and all factions inside Iran.

"Nobody has been defeated in the deal, neither inside the country nor the countries that were negotiating with us," he said, referring to the United States, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that Israel would remain vigilant to ensure that Iran was not violating its commitments.

Mr Netanyahu maintained his strong opposition to the deal, telling his weekly Cabinet meeting: "The Israel policy remains as it was - not to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon."

Mr Netanyahu drew the ire of the Obama administration last year by speaking in front of the US Congress in an attempt to prevent the agreement. On Sunday, he repeated his contention that the deal will strengthen and embolden Tehran, leading to greater regional instability.

"What is clear is that Iran will now have more resources to dedicate to their terrorism and aggression in the region and in the world, and Israel is prepared to deal with any threat," he said.

Mr Rouhani said Iran should use the expected influx of money and investments following the end of sanctions to spark the "economic mutation" of the country, creating jobs and enhancing quality-of-life for Iranian citizens. Iran has been suffering double-digit inflation and unemployment rates for years.

He also said Iran now needs political tranquillity to best benefit from the new economic reality. "All should prevent any domestic and foreign trivialities that thwart us," he said.

"Any irrelevant and diverting dispute is against national expedience."

Mr Rouhani said his country needs up to 50 billion dollars (£35 billion) in foreign investment per year to reach its goal of 8% annual growth.

More than 30 billion dollars (£21 billion) in assets overseas will become immediately available to the Islamic Republic. Official Iranian reports have set the total amount of frozen Iranian assets overseas at 100 billion dollars (£70 billion).

A European oil embargo on Iran will also end. Already, some 38 million barrels of oil are in Iran's floating reserves, ready to enter the market, according to the International Energy Agency.

Although many in Iran welcomed the deal, not everyone was enthused about the agreement, which limits Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

T he deal is designed with so-called "snap-back" elements that can quickly restore sanctions if Iran is judged to be in violation of its obligations.

Tehran newspapers largely welcomed the implementation of the deal. Even the hard-line Kayhan daily remained impartial and said that for the west, "it is the time of implementation of promises".

Press Association

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