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 United States agreed to lift the sanctions as part of an international agreement requiring Iran to mothball its nuclear capabilities for a decade or more.

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. Obama administration officials have said they believe the value is on the lower end of that spectrum, because of Iran’s international debts and the amount of currency it needs to keep in foreign reserves.

Most of the sanctions relief applies to what are known as secondary sanctions those against non-U.S.citizens doing business with Iran.Primary sanctions those against U.S.citizens remain in place.

But there are narrow exceptions. The Treasury Department grant waivers 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 on a case by case basis.

Sourec: USA TODAY