Rouhani hails "golden page" in Iran's history as sanctions lifted

Hassan-Rouhani Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech to parliament before presenting the proposed annual budget in the capital Tehran | AFP

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday hailed the nuclear deal with world powers, implemented late the previous evening, as a "golden page" in the country's history, and looked forward to an economic future less dependent on oil.

The Islamic Republic emerged from years of economic isolation on Saturday when world powers lifted crippling sanctions after confirming that Tehran had curbed its nuclear programme as part of a deal agreed last year.

"The nuclear deal is an opportunity that we should use to develop the country, improve the welfare of the nation, and create stability and security in the region," Rouhani said as he presented a draft budget for the next fiscal year to parliament.

Tehran also announced the release of five Americans including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian as part of a prisoner swap with the United States, to reduce decades-old hostility.

As tens of billions of dollars worth of Iranian assets were due to be unfrozen and barriers to international business come down, Rouhani said the deal was a "turning point" for the economy of 80 million people.

He said the deal was an opportunity for Iran's economy to cut its "umbilical cord" to oil while prices were low. Benchmark Brent crude closed below $29 on Friday, and may fall further as Iran has pledged to raise its supply after sanctions were lifted.

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Topics : #Iran | #United States

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