New sanctions imposed on Iran just hours after landmark deal

Hassan Rouhani, in white headdress, arrives at Tehran's parliament to present the proposed annual budget yesterday after nuclear sanctions were lifted. Picture: AFP/Getty
Hassan Rouhani, in white headdress, arrives at Tehran's parliament to present the proposed annual budget yesterday after nuclear sanctions were lifted. Picture: AFP/Getty
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The US has imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian companies and individuals over a recent ballistic missile test.

The new sanctions prevent 11 entities and individuals linked to the missile programme from using the US banking system.

The move came after international nuclear sanctions on Iran were lifted as part of a deal hailed by President Barack Obama yesterday as “smart”.

Four American-Iranians were also freed in a prisoner swap as part of the deal.

Among them was Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian - whom President Obama described as “courageous”. A fifth American was freed separately.

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani said yesterday that the official implementation of the landmark nuclear deal has satisfied all parties except radical extremists. Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged that Israel would remain vigilant to ensure that Iran was not violating its commitments.

Speaking before the parliament in comments broadcast live on state TV, Mr Rouhani said: “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 has “opened new windows for engagement with the world”.

He also said the deal was a win 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, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Mr Netanyahu maintained his strong opposition to the deal, saying: “The Israel policy remains as it was – not to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Mr Netanyahu was a strong public opponent of the negotiations and drew the ire of the Obama administration last year by speaking in front of the US Congress in an attempt to prevent the agreement.

Mr Rouhani said Iran should use the expected influx of investment to spark the “economic mutation” of the country, creating jobs and enhancing quality of life for Iranians, who have suffered double-digit inflation and unemployment rates for years.

He also said Iran needs political tranquillity to 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 in foreign investment per year to reach its goal of 8 per cent annual growth.

For Iran, long out in the economic cold over its contested atomic programme, implementing the nuclear deal will be a welcome thaw.

More than $30bn 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 $100bn.

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

Yesterday, many Tehran residents expressed optimism about Iran’s future prospects.

Reza Khoei, a taxi driver, said: “Unbelievable! This is a day without sanction after years. I lost my technical job in a ­petrochemical complex because of the sanctions.”

Fahimeh Lotfi, a housewife and mother of two, said: “No more will we to go to bed every night while worrying about the worsening situation.”