Iran's president greets "new chapter" in relations with world

The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran after a decade of international isolation has opened a "new chapter" in the country's history, President Hassan Rowhani said Sunday.

Rowhani hailed the announcement by the European Union and the United States that debilitating economic sanctions have come to an end and that Tehran has regained access to more than 100 billion dollars in frozen assets.

"We have stretched our hands toward the world in a sign of friendship and begun a new chapter in our relations with the world after overcoming all the enmities, scepticism and schemes devised against us," he said in statement.

Since before his election in 2013, the moderate leader of the Islamic republic has promised to negotiate away the sanctions, which included an embargo on economically vital oil and gas exports.

Predicting an economic boom in the coming years, Rowhani promised Iranian youth that new opportunities will be created as Iran enters the "world economy orbit."

Western sanctions targeting Iran were lifted on Saturday after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran had kept to its side of last year's landmark agreement with six major powers by significantly scaling down its nuclear programme.

The IAEA confirmed that Iran had dismantled thousands of uranium enrichment centrifuges, shipped most of its enriched uranium to Russia and poured concrete into its plutonium-producing Arak reactor.

In another sign of warming relations, Tehran and Washington announced a prisoner swap at the weekend, which came on the heels of Iran's quick release of 10 US sailors who had been seized earlier in the week.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano arrived in Tehran on Sunday to meet with Rowhani and the chairman of the country's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi.

In his statement, Rowhani said that Iran was ready to relegate years of acrimony with the West to the past.

"We do not pose any threat to nations and governments. We are fully ready to protect Iran but we are also the messenger of peace, stability and security in the region and the world," he said.

Last update: Sun, 17/01/2016 - 14:09
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