Switzerland lifted some of its economic sanctions against Iran on Sunday in keeping with the United Nations and European Union.
A statement from the Swiss cabinet welcomed the implementation of the nuclear deal and congratulated the six world powers and Iran for their success in making it happen.
The cabinet said that in keeping with its decision on November 11 it had conducted “a total revision of the ordinance” of measures that Switzerland had imposed on Iran as part of the international community’s pressure to curb Iran’s nuclear programme.
The “new ordinance”, which resulted in the lifting of some sanctions, took effect at midnight on Sunday. But that does not mean all sanctions have been lifted.
“The remaining restrictions against Iran are based on the corresponding UN and EU measures,” the cabinet said. “They concern trade and services involving arms, equipment which may be used for internal repression and delivery systems. Trade in nuclear goods and nuclear-related dual-use goods will be subject to licence.”
“In addition, financial and travel restrictions remain in place for a limited number of individuals and firms. Further restrictions concern in particular technical services for Iranian cargo aircraft and the fulfilment of certain demands,” the cabinet said.
The action followed confirmation on Saturday by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna – the UN’s nuclear agency – that Iran had met all of its commitments under last summer's landmark deal aimed at diminishing Iran's atomic bomb-making capability.
“The agreement provides for the simultaneous lifting or suspension of a large portion of the international sanctions against Iran in return for IAEA-verified restrictions to Iran's nuclear programme,” the cabinet noted.
“Switzerland has always supported the process to negotiate and implement the agreement,” it said, adding that the cabinet “is confident that implementation of the nuclear agreement and the lifting of international sanctions will enable political and economic exchanges with Iran to be intensified”.
New economic era
Lifting the Western economic sanctions will enable Iran to access $100 billion (CHF100.5 billion) in frozen assets, usher in a new era for the nation’s crippled economy, and provide other nations with access to Iran’s oil and gas and its marketplace of 80 million consumers.
The government has previously announced that Swiss President and Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann plans to visit Iran in late February.
The top US, Iran and EU diplomats celebrated the deal that was reached after years of difficult negotiations and setbacks. “We are really reminded once again of diplomacy's power to tackle significant challenges,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Iran and the United States also clinched a deal to release four Iranian-Americans who had been detained in Iran and seven Iranians who had been held in the United States. The deal, facilitated by Switzerland, involved a plan to fly the four from Iran to Switzerland aboard a Swiss aircraft and then on to Germany for medical evaluation.