Iranian president touts nuclear deal as 'golden page' in country's history

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani touted the nuclear deal with world powers Sunday, calling the pact a “golden page” in the country’s history and said he looks for to Iran becoming less dependent on oil.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the International Atomic Energy Agency announced Saturday that Iran completed the necessary steps in the international nuclear deal to allow Tehran to immediately recoup roughly $100 billion in frozen assets.

"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," Rouhani said as he presented a draft budget for the next fiscal year to the Iranian Parliament, according to Reuters.

Rouhani also said that everyone in the world is happy about the completion of the deal except for “Zionists, warmongers, sowers of discord among Islamic nations and extremists in the U.S.”

The deal was reached last summer after roughly two years of negotiation between Iran, the United States and five other world powers.

Iran has since shipped out tons of uranium and removed from service thousands of centrifuges -- key components in making a nuclear weapon.

Rouhani said Iran now needs political tranquility to best benefit from the new economic reality.

"All should prevent any domestic and foreign trivialities that thwart us," he said. "Any irrelevant and diverting dispute is against national expedience."

President Barrack Obama on Saturday signed executive orders lifting the economic sanctions on Iran. Obama is likely to make a public statement about the completion of the deal on Sunday.

In addition to recouping hundreds of billions of dollars, Iran and its economy will vastly benefit from new oil, trade and financial opportunities now that the Western sanctions against it are lifted.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state, praised the deal soon after Kerry’s announcement, calling it an “important achievement of diplomacy backed by pressure.”

“These are important steps that make the United States, our allies and the entire world safer,” she said. “I congratulate President Obama and his team. And I'm proud of the role I played to get this process started.”

The announcement about Iran complying with the deal was also made by International Atomic Energy Agency General Yukiya Amano, who said he is also releasing a report on Iran’s actions.

“This paves the way for the IAEA to begin verifying and monitoring Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the agreement, as requested by the U.N. Security Council and authorized by the IAEA Board,” he said in a statement.

United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond welcomed the implementation of the deal.

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

Rouhani’s focus is now shifting to its economic dependence on oil. He called the nuclear deal a “turning point for the economy of the country, which has a population of 80 million. Rouhani also said the deal was a chance for Iran to cut its “umbilical cord” to oil while the prices were falling.

More than $30 billion in assets overseas will become immediately available to the Islamic Republic. Official Iranian reports have set the total amount of frozen Iranian assets overseas at $100 billion.

A European oil embargo on Iran will end. Already, some 38 million barrels of oil are in Iran's floating reserves, ready to enter the market, according to the International Energy Agency.

Celebrations in Tehran were relatively muted at first, because the Vienna implementation announcement came well after midnight. But on Sunday, many Tehran residents expressed optimism about Iran's future economic prospects.

"Unbelievable! This is a day without sanction after years," said taxi driver Reza Khoei. "I lost my technical job in a petrochemical complex in south of Iran because of the damn sanctions."

Fahimeh Lotfi, a housewife and mother of two, said, "I am very happy. Now we are like other countries. No more will we to go to bed every night while worrying about the worsening situation. BravoRouhani!"

Hassan Dehghani, a 26-year-old street sweeper, said "I hope this helps the municipality to pay my salary on time. Sometimes they pay us with months of delay."

But not everyone was enthused about the agreement, which limits Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. The deal is designed with so-called "snap-back" elements that can quickly restore sanctions if Iran is judged to be in violation of its obligations.

Tehran resident Hossein Barati angrily asked, "If America restores the sanctions, can Iran restore its nuclear program? No it can't! They dismantled all the centrifuges. How many years will it take Iran to restore its program?"

Tehran newspapers largely welcomed the implementation of the deal.

The state-owned IRAN daily wrote on its front-page, "The collapse of sanctions." The pro-reform Shargh daily, allocated part of its front page to pictures of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with the headline: "Now, without sanctions."

Even the hard-line Kayhan daily remained impartial and said, "It is the time of implementation of promises," by the West.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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