International sanctions on Iran will be lifted on Saturday when the United Nations nuclear agency declares Tehran has complied with an agreement to scale back its nuclear programme, Iran’s foreign minister said.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif arrived in Vienna, headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. body expected to issue a report triggering the lifting of sanctions imposed by the United Nations, United States and European Union.
The sanctions have cut off a nation of nearly 80 million from the global financial system, drastically reduced the exports of a major oil producer and imposed severe economic hardship on ordinary Iranians. Most will be lifted immediately.
“Today with the release of the IAEA chief’s report the nuclear deal will be implemented, after which a joint statement will be made to announce the beginning of the deal,” Zarif was quoted as saying in Vienna by state news agency IRNA.
“Today is a good day for the Iranian people as sanctions will be lifted today,” the ISNA agency quoted Zarif as saying.
Zarif is due to meet his U.S. counterpart John Kerry, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, and IAEA chief Yukiya Amano later on Saturday. International journalists have been assembled at the IAEA headquarters in anticipation of an announcement.
“Implementation day” of the nuclear deal agreed last year marks the biggest re-entry of a former pariah state onto the global economic stage since the end of the Cold War, and a turning point in the hostility between Iran and the United States that has shaped the Middle East since 1979.