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Iran's President: Nuclear deal 'golden page in Iran's history'

Hassan Rouhani welcomed the lifting of international sanctions against Iran. Credit: Parspix / ABACA/PA Images

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the lifting of international sanctions against his country as part of a nuclear deal as "a golden page in Iran's history".

Addressing parliament and presenting the draft budget for the next Iranian fiscal year, President Rouhani said the deal had "increased national confidence".

He added that the agreement would be "a turning point" in Iran's economy which has been struggling since international sanctions were introduced in response to Tehran's nuclear programme.

He called for economic reforms and less reliance on oil revenues in the post-sanctions era.

Iran is now expected to be able to access roughly $50 billion out of a reported $100 billion in holdings it has abroad.

Hammond wants British firms to benefit from Iran deal

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has welcomed the lifting of international sanctions on Iran and urged British firms to take advantage of the new opportunities that would open up as Iran was brought in from the cold.

Philip Hammond urged British firms to take advantage of new links with Iran. Credit: Yui Mok / PA Wire/PA Images

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna confirmed the government in Tehran had met all of its obligations under a deal last July to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.

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

The deal paves the way for Iran to resume oil exports while recouping around 100 billion dollars in frozen assets.

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.

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.

– Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond


Five US prisoners held by Iran are released from jail

A group of five US citizens including the Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian have been released from jail by Iran, John Kerry has announced.

The US Secretary of State said the men were expected to return to American soil shortly after they were set free under a prisoner swap deal.

I am very happy to say, as we speak, we have received confirmation that five Americans that have been unjustly detained in Iran have been released ... and they should be on their way home to their families before long.

– John Kerry

The swap was announced earlier today ahead of the much anticipated lifting of sanctions on Iran under a historic nuclear deal formalised tonight.

Iran has cut atomic programme, says UN watchdog

Iran has cut back its nuclear activities in line with an international agreement, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog IAEA has announced.

It paves the way for international sanctions to be lifted.

An Iranian nuclear reactor in Bushehr Credit: Reuters

The announcement comes after the US and Iran announced a prisoner swap, a major diplomatic coup setting the stage for today's much anticipated announcement.

Iran prisoner swap 'marks new era for relations with the West'

The prisoner swap by Iran marks a "new era in relations with the West", a former Iranian diplomat has told ITV News.

Mehrdad Khonsari said it is a "victory for common sense and diplomacy".

Seven prisoners - including US journalist Jason Rezaian - were freed by Iran in a prisoner swap.

The release comes as Iran's foreign minister met with John Kerry in Vienna, as international sanctions are expected to be lifted on Iran.

It is a victory for common sense and diplomacy that has persevered. It's a victory for not giving up when things don't look bright and trying to work things out peacefully...

What has taken place marks the beginning of a new era in Iran's relations with the West.

– Mehrdad Khonsari

ITV News Correspondent Duncan Golestani reports:


Student is fifth US citizen released by Iran

Iran has released a fifth American, student Matthew Trevithick, a US official has announced.

He was said to have been freed separately from four dual nationals including the US reporter Jason Rezaian who are being released under a 'prisoner swap' deal.

A US official said the state has offered clemency to seven Iranians who were convicted or had pending trials. It also removed intentional red wanted notices against a further 14 people.

The swap comes as the US and Iran work on a historic nuclear deal Credit: Reuters

A US official has stressed the deal is a "one-time arrangement" that should not be viewed as a precedent.

It comes amid a historic thaw in relations between the US and Iran ahead of a widely anticipated nuclear deal.

US releases seven Iranians under 'prisoner swap'

American officials have confirmed that the Washing Post reporter Jason Rezaian is among four dual US citizens being released by Tehran under a 'prisoner swap' deal.

Jason Rezaian is among four dual citizens being released by Iran Credit: AP

They announced the US is to release seven Iranians, six of who hold dual US citizenship, who were held for violations of international sanctions against Iran, officials in Washington said.

In a addition Rezaian, three other dual citizens being released by Iran are Amir Hekmat, a former US marine; Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor; and Nosratollah Khosravi.

None of the US prisoners held by Iran have yet left Tehran, the US said.

US pastor's wife says he has been released by Iran

The wife of an American pastor held as a prisoner in Iran said that he was among seven freed under a 'prisoner swap'.

Saeed Abedini has been named as one of those freed today, according to news agencies in Iran.

His wife Naghmeh Abedini tweeted: "It is confirmed: Saeed is released from Iranian prison."

The former Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian is also reported to be among four men with dual US-Iranian national to be released.

Iran releases four dual Iranian-US detainees

Iran has released four prisoners with dual Iranian-US nationality, the Tehran public prosecutor was quoted as saying, without giving further details.

Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian is included in those released, according to Iran's semi-official FARS news agency.

It named the other three as Amir Hekmat, a former US marine; Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor; and Nosratollah Khosravi.

"In line with orders from the Supreme National Security Council and in the national interest, four Iranian dual national prisoners have been released in a prisoner swap," Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.

IRNA news agency's English language service quoted him as saying the freed prisoners were Iranian-Americans.,

US Secretary of State Kerry meets Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif in Vienna Credit: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The release comes as Iran's foreign minister met with John Kerry in Vienna, as international sanctions are expected to be lifted on Iran.

The lifting of sanctions are expected to be triggered when the United Nations nuclear agency declares Tehran has complied with an agreement to scale back its nuclear program.

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