The economic sanctions on Iran have been lifted after the country’s compliance with obligations under its nuclear agreement with world powers was certified.
The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, announced the lifting of sanctions in accordance with the deal “as Iran has fulfilled its commitment”.
International nuclear watchdog IAEA said its inspectors had verified that Iran had taken the required steps.
A deal between Iran and world powers was agreed in July 2015.
The IAEA’s Director General Yukiya Amano said it was “an important day for the international community”.
Lifting the international sanctions on Iran will unfreeze billions of dollars of assets and allow Iranian oil to be sold internationally.
As part of the deal, Iran had to drastically reduce its number of centrifuges and dismantle a heavy-water reactor near the town of Arak, both of which could be used in creating nuclear weapons.
Iran has always maintained its program is peaceful, but opponents of the deal – such as some US Republicans – say it does not do enough to ensure the country cannot develop a nuclear bomb.
Secretary of State John Kerry has ordered that US nuclear-related economic sanctions against Iran be lifted.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the nation following the IAEA announcement. The deal “had “borne fruit,” Hassan Rouhani tweeted, adding that he took “a bow before a patient nation like ours”.
On the same day it emerged that Iran had released Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-American prisoners in an apparent prisoner swap with the US.
Jason Rezaian, 39, was jailed on charges, including espionage, in November 2015.
America said it was offering clemency to seven Iranians being held in the US for sanctions violation.
Moscow has announced a package of economic sanctions against Turkey over the Russian warplane downing on the Syrian border on November 24.
The decree signed by President Vladimir Putin covers imports from Turkey, the work of Turkish companies in Russia and any Turkish nationals working for Russian companies.
It also calls for an end to charter flights between Russia and Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to apologize to Russia.
On November 27, Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Moscow of “playing with fire” in its Syria operations. However, on November 28, the Turkish said he was “saddened” by the downing of the Russian fighter jet.
Turkey and Russia have important economic links. Russia is Turkey’s second-largest trading partner, while more than three million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2014.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on November 28 that there were close to 90,000 Turkish nationals working in Russia. Taking family members into account, that figure rises to 200,000, he said.
The decree also urges Russian tour operators to refrain from selling packages to Turkey, while Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has warned its citizens against non-essential travel to Russia “until the situation becomes clear”.
On November 27, Russia suspended its visa-free arrangement with Turkey.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked for a meeting with Vladimir Putin, who wants an apology from Turkey before he will agree to talks.
Turkey says the Russian plane had intruded into its airspace and ignored warnings to leave.
Moscow maintains that its SU-24 fighter jet was downed by a missile fired from a Turkish jet inside Syria.
Vladimir Putin has also firmly rejected any suggestion Turkey did not recognize the plane as Russian. He said it was easily identifiable and its co-ordinates had been passed on to Turkey’s ally, the US.
Russia has sent troops and aircraft to Syria to back up the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad in the civil war.
Turkey, which is a member of NATO and of a US-led coalition in the region, insists Bashar al-Assad must step down before any political solution to the Syrian conflict is found.
President Barack Obama has announced new economic sanctions against Russia over Ukrainian crisis, saying they will make Russia’s “weak economy even weaker”.
Barack Obama said the coordinated actions of the US and European Union would “have an even bigger bite” on Russia’s economy.
The new restrictions include banning Americans or people in the US from banking with three Russian banks.
The aim is to increase the cost to Russia of its continued support for pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Moscow denies charges by the EU and US that it is supplying heavy weapons to the rebels.
Speaking at the White House, Barack Obama said the US was widening its sanctions to target the key sectors of the Russian economy – energy, arms, and finance.
President Barack Obama has announced new economic sanctions against Russia over Ukrainian crisis
“If Russia continues on this current path, the costs on Russia will continue to grow,” the president said.
The US Treasury said the banks being targeting in this round of sanctions were VTB, the Bank of Moscow, and the Russian Agriculture Bank (Rosselkhozbank).
Earlier, the EU also adopted new economic sanctions against Russia, targeting the oil sector, defense equipment and sensitive technologies.
Full details of the new EU sanctions are expected on Wednesday, when the EU is also set to name more Russian officials facing asset freezes and travel bans in Europe.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been reluctant to step up sanctions because of Germany’s trade links with Russia, said the latest measures were “unavoidable”.
Calls for the EU to act have been fuelled by the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on the Malaysia Airlines jet were killed, many of them Dutch citizens.
An international team has again failed to access the crash site, amid heavy fighting between government forces and rebels there.
Western governments believe the pro-Russian separatists shot the plane down on July 17 with a Russian missile, believing it to be a Ukrainian military flight. The rebels and Moscow deny that, instead blaming the Ukrainian military.
Last weekend, the EU subjected a further 15 Russian individuals and 18 entities to asset freezes and visa bans for their alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict.
The list of 87 targets of EU sanctions now includes the heads of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and foreign intelligence, the president of Chechnya, as well as two Crimean energy companies.
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