The economic sanctions on Iran would most probably be lifted Saturday, a source in Jerusalem told Army Radio, and warned that the first investment by the Islamic Republic would be military and not civilian.
The unnamed source said that Iran’s first priority would be to spend its newly freed-up funds on military acquisitions, and not on civilian investments, Army Radio reported. Furthermore, the source said, the implementation of the agreement would have a direct impact on the region, as terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas — both recipients of Iranian largesse — found themselves in possession of new and modern weaponry.
“The world powers are mistaken if they see Iran as a solution to regional stability, and not the source of the problem,” another unnamed source said, according to the radio.
The Institute of International Finance (IIF) estimated in November that the Iranian economy would surge by six percent when the sanctions are lifted, the International Business Times reported at the time. Such growth, the media outlet said, would lead the country to outperform many other countries in the region.
Under the July 2015 deal, Iran has agreed to scale down dramatically key areas of its nuclear activities in exchange for relief from the crippling sanctions, notably on its oil exports.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif predicted earlier in the day that Saturday would bring an end to the sanctions.
Once the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, verifies that Iran has met the terms laid out in the July 2015 agreement reached with world powers, a raft of US, EU and UN sanctions on Iran will be lifted, including on its lifeblood oil exports.
The IAEA verification is expected Saturday, after which Zarif, together with US Secretary of State John Kerry and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, will announce that the sanctions are ending. All three are meeting in Vienna for the announcement.
Zarif and Mogherini met Saturday in Vienna to “finalize” last July’s nuclear deal, the EU foreign policy chief said on Twitter.
“It’s a good day for the people of Iran… and also a good day for the region. The sanctions will be lifted today,” Zarif said after arriving in Austria’s capital on Saturday morning, according to the ISNA news agency.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have been publicly and vehemently critical of the agreement, saying that it does not go far enough to curtail Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
AFP contributed to this report