Jan 20, 2016, 2:23 PM
News Code: 81928756
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Ebtekar hails removal of sanctions

Tehran, Jan 20, IRNA - Vice-President and Head of the Department of Environment Massoumeh Ebtekar hailed the removal of sanctions as 'a success of diplomacy and negotiation'.

Lifting of sanctions on Iran on Saturday marks a new era in bilateral relations between Tehran and Washington, Massoumeh Ebtekar said, adding further rapprochement is contingent on how the US goes about fulfilling its commitments under last summer’s nuclear accord.

In an interview with the UK Guardian, Ebtekar said it was a very strong indication that with the necessary will 'we can resolve many of the outstanding international conflicts, without resorting to force and violence'.

She hoped the implementation of the landmark nuclear deal would have a positive impact on the Syria talks.

The US and the European Union lifted anti-Iran sanctions after the January 16 report released by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano who verified nuclear program in Iran by his report.

Then, the implementation of the July 14 nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) started as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a joint statement announcing the 'Implementation Day'.

Ebtekar warned against what she said were new attempts in the region to create a sense of 'Iranophobia', the Guardian quoted her as saying.

Commenting on the 'Implementation Day', she said, 'What I’m seeing over the social networks is that there is a lot of hope, a lot of optimism, and a lot of energy to move ahead.'

Asked about the prospects of having a US secretary of state visiting Tehran for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ebtekar said, 'I think it’s very important to see how the US moves ahead in terms of implementing the agreement in different aspects and dimensions.

'There is a lot of enthusiasm on the part of American companies and private sector, looking forward to working with Iran.

'I think there will be a lot of public diplomacy, but perhaps also a lot of tourists coming and going.'

Sanctions took a toll on Iran’s economy, including the environmental sector, she said.

'They took a toll in many respects, particularly in regards to the new technologies that we require in areas like protection and preservation of our water resources, proper use of water in the sustained agricultural sector, protection of our rivers, wetlands, our lakes.'

'We need access to technologies not only in the refineries to produce high quality fuel but also in the automotive sector – a city like Tehran has five million passenger cars and motorcycles and a lot of them are now obsolete, they have to be changed to modern standards vehicles,' she said.

When asked about rising tensions between Tehran and Riyadh over the Saudi execution of a prominent Shia cleric al-Nimr, Ebtekar said Iranian government has a policy of alleviating tensions.

She added Tehran and Riyadh are at odds over a number of questions in the region, including the war in Yemen and the issue of Syria.

'I think that Iran has proven now, particularly during the government of Dr Rouhani, that it has good intentions for all of its neighbors and is working to promote peace and security,” she said.

'[There are] attempts that are being made to create a sense of Iranophobia. There is nothing to fear about Iran, which is an independent country in the region.

'While it is fully prepared to defend itself, it is also fully prepared to work with its neighbors for peace, for prosperity and improving relations.'