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$32bn windfall for Iran as sanctions lifted

Iran reached a historic deal with world powers over its nuclear programme [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 January, 2016

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Iran will receive billions of dollars in unfrozen assets as sanctions imposed by world powers were lifted, following an historic deal over its nuclear programme.

Iranian central bank chief Valiollah Seif announced on Tuesday that Iran would receive $32 billion of unfrozen assets after sanctions were lifted as part of a historic deal with world powers over its nuclear programme.

According to state television, Seif said that $28 billion (25.8 billion euros) would go to the central bank, and $4 billion "will be transferred to the state treasury as the share of the government".

The unfreezing of assets comes after the UN atomic watchdog confirmed at the weekend that Iran had complied with measures imposed by the deal with global powers reached in Vienna in July.

The assets can be used "to buy and import goods, as the entry of such an amount of currency in to the country is not logical", Seif said.

The central bank plans to keep the funds "in centralised and safe accounts" abroad, he added.

The expected rise in Iranian crude exports after the lifting of sanctions and the recent sharp decline in oil prices caused share prices in the energy-rich Gulf states to nosedive on Sunday.

The price of oil, which contributes more than 80 percent to Gulf states' revenues, shed more than 20 percent this year to drop below $30 a barrel. This follows a plunge of 65 percent in the past two years.
The return of Iran to the oil market will only worsen the production glut that has been the main reason for the oil price dive.

All seven Gulf bourses saw a wave of panicked sell-offs, sending indices to multi-year lows.

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