NEW YORK - “Iran is continuing to strive for nuclear weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s optimism must not blind the international community,” Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon said on Saturday, as world powers dropped sanctions on Iran after international monitors concluded the first phase of their landmark nuclear deal complete, marking the formal commencement of the accord.

Lifting the sanctions, Danon said is like “greasing the wheels of terrorism that Iran is funding around the world.”

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“Israel will continue to monitor closely all activities of Iran, both in terms of the nuclear threat and the terror threat,” he added.

Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached last summer brings with it Tehran's reentry into the global marketplace after decades of pariah status. The Islamic Republic will have full and immediate access to tens of billions of dollars in unfrozen assets, a surge in business opportunities, and be reconnected to the Society for the Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT, the world's largest payments network for financial institutions.

On his end, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was heartened by the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic and expressed the hope that the parties move on to “fully implement the JCPOA in good faith and to increase cooperation on other pressing international and regional matters.”

"This achievement demonstrates that international proliferation concerns are best addressed through dialogue and patient diplomacy,” Ban added in a statement delivered by his Spokesman.

He also said he hopes the success of this agreement contributes to “greater regional and international cooperation for peace, security and stability in the region and beyond.”


Michael Wilner contributed to this report.

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