A PIVOTAL moment in global affairs was reached today as Iran awoke to its first day without the hardline sanctions enforced by international financial institutions led by the United States.
The sanctions were formally lifted on January 16 after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE) confirmed that Iran had complied with the terms of the nuclear deal wrought out of years of negotiations with the Obama administration.
President Hassan Rouhani has described the moment as a “turning point” and hailed a new “golden page” in the nation’s history.
“We should use this opportunity for the country’s growth and development and people’s welfare, as well as the security and stability of the region,” he said to the Iranian parliament.
Saturday saw a busy day for international diplomacy as all the nuclear related sanctions on Iran were lifted by the US, UN and EU, including an embargo on Iranian oil imports. Other sanctions related to terrorism and human rights issues will, however, remain in force.
There was also a prisoner release with five Iranian-American citizens, including the Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, being released from detention in Iran.
The mood was jubilant as ordinary Iranians expressed optimism on social media amid growing hope that the country’s dire economic condition would soon improve.
Demonstrating a more pragmatic approach on both sides, the nuclear deal has had its critics from the Saudi and Israeli regimes, and Republican opponents in the American congress, who have threatened to tear it up post-Obama.
For the time being, however, analysts are cautiously welcoming the news, which comes at a time of tremendous strife across the Middle East.