Foreign Secretary welcomes lifting of sanctions as Iran honours nuclear deal


Britain has welcomed the lifting of sanctions on Iran after the international nuclear watchdog said the Tehran government had met all its obligations under a deal with six world powers.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna confirmed that the conditions set under the agreement last July had been fulfilled, paving the way for Iran to resume oil exports while recouping around 100 billion dollars in frozen assets.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the findings of the IAEA inspectors had confounded sceptics who said that Iran would never give up on its nuclear programme.

He urged British firms to take advantage of the new opportunities that would open as Iran was brought in from the cold.

"The nuclear deal with Iran, in which Britain played a major role, makes the Middle East and the wider world a safer place. Years of patient and persistent diplomacy, and difficult technical work, have borne fruit as we now implement the deal," he said.

"There were many sceptics who said Iran would never deliver on its side of the bargain, but the independent International Atomic Energy Agency has said they have.

"Tonnes of uranium have been shipped out of Iran, thousands of centrifuges have been taken out of use and the core has been removed from the Arak reactor. Iran's nuclear programme has been substantially rolled back, in return for the lifting of sanctions and the economic benefits that will bring.

"The UK has played a central role, and I hope British businesses seize the opportunities available to them through the phased lifting of sanctions on Iran. The future is as important as the landmark we've reached today."