Iranian President hails nuclear deal as "golden page" in the country's history

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
US Secretary of State John Kerry with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the nuclear deal with world powers as a "golden page" in the country's history.

He said he looked forward to an economic future less dependent on oil.

Yesterday, the Islamic Republic emerged from years of economic isolation 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," Mr 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 comedown, the Iranian President 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.

Stock markets in the energy-rich Gulf region have nosedived today, with Qatar and Dubai shedding 6.0% each, over the plunge in oil prices and the lifting of the sanctions on Iran.

The Abu Dhabi market shed 4.5% and Kuwait's 2.3%.

The lifting of sanctions on Iran will allow the Islamic republic to raise its oil exports, worsening a production glut that has sent oil prices crashing.

On Friday, Benchmark Brent crude closed below $29, and may fall further as Iran has pledged to raise its supply after sanctions were lifted.