President Obama Signs Executive Order Revoking 20-Year System of Sanctions Against Iran

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President Obama signed an executive order Saturday revoking a 20-year system of sanctions against Iran for pursuing a nuclear weapons program. 

The executive order finds that Iran’s compliance with an international nuclear agreement — as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency Saturday — “marks a fundamental shift in circumstances with respect to Iran’s nuclear program.”

The most significant effect of the executive order is to free up Iranian assets held in the international financial system, estimated to be worth between $50 billion and $150 billion. But the Treasury Department will also publish a rule granting a “general license” for Americans to import food, carpets and other floor coverings from Iran. And on Friday, Obama signed a presidential memorandum allowing the export of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran.

Obama administration officials have stressed, however, that other U.S. sanctions against Iran — for human rights violations and its support of terrorism — will remain in place.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis, said Obama lifted sanctions “on the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” and notes that it comes weeks after an Iranian missile test and just days after Iran held 10 U.S. sailors who found themselves in Iranian waters.

“A bipartisan majority in the House voted to reject this deal in the first place, and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent a nuclear Iran,” Ryan said in a statement.

Source: USA Today | Gregory Korte