Iran sanctions: Islamic republic rapidly resumes global trade in wake of nuclear deal

President Hassan Rouhani will travel to Italy and France next week, with deals with French and German firms already in place

Iran has wasted no time re-entering the global financial system in the wake of the removal of sanctions, with deals with French and German firms already in place, and a visit by President Hassan Rouhani to Italy and France planned for next week.

The visit will be Mr Rouhani’s first to Europe since the lifting on Saturday of sanctions against his country, which has enabled Iran to resume trade with Europe and the United States. 

The country has struck a deal worth an estimated $10bn (£7bn) with French company Airbus to purchase 114 new planes, according to local media.

Meanwhile Germany’s Economy Ministry said it will revive state export guarantees for companies that want to do business with Iran, as German truck company Daimler AG said its business would be returning to the Middle Eastern state.

Stuttgart-based Daimler announced that it had signed letters of intent with local partners Iran Khodro Diesel and Mammut Group to arrange a “comprehensive re-entry” into the country where Daimler started doing business in the 1950s. Daimler Trucks head Wolfgang Bernhard said that “there is a huge demand for commercial vehicles in Iran” and that “we plan to quickly resume our business activities in the market there.” 

Daimler’s business in Iran started in 1953 and it sold up to 10,000 vehicles a year there, but was interrupted from 2010 to 2016 by the sanctions. 

German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel is planning to take a trade delegation to Tehran in May, at the same time as British Chancellor George Osborne. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, will visit Iran next week. 

Mr Rouhani said that his country would not breach the nuclear deal so long as the West also honoured its commitments to the accord.

Describing the accord as a unique example in the history of diplomacy, he said Iran was committed not to pursue nuclear weapons.

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Fatemeh Ekhtesari and Mehdi Mousavi faced long prison sentences (AP)

“We will be committed to the nuclear deal as far as the other side is,” Mr Rouhani said at a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano.

But Iran also hit back at new US sanctions imposed on Sunday over Iran’s long-range missile programme. “Iran’s missile programme has never been designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari said. “The US sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile programme… have no legal or moral legitimacy.”

Meanwhile, previously banned websites including Twitter and YouTube appeared to be unblocked for at least some users in Iran. Mr Rouhani is a prolific Twitter user and has spoken about his desire to open up the internet to all Iranians.

AP; Reuters

Escape from Iran: Poets faced the lash

Two Iranian poets who faced lashings and prison sentences have fled Iran, one of the writers said, a rare escape for artists and activists ensnared in an ongoing crackdown on free expression.

Fatemeh Ekhtesari faced an 11-year prison sentence and Mehdi Mousavi faced nine years on charges ranging from propaganda against the state to “insulting sanctities”. Each was sentenced to 99 lashes for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex. 

Ms Ekhtesari said both had made it to another country, but did not elaborate.

AP

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