Switzerland became the first country to lift sanctions against Iran since the Iranian deal was reached with the United States, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. The deal, reached on July 14th, provides that the party countries will lift economic restrictions against Iran in exchange for Iran limiting its nuclear development. Although Switzerland had already suspended the sanctions against in Iran in January 2014, the neutral country officially lifted them today.
Switzerland’s decision terminates Iran’s requirement to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products. It also removes a ban on precious metal transactions with Iranian state bodies. Furthermore, the lifting of sanctions eliminates Iran’s obligation to report the transport of Iranian petroleum products and crude oil and it also eliminates the rules regarding insurance and reinsurance policies connected to such transactions. Switzerland’s move also includes raising the threshold dollar amounts that trigger licensing and reporting obligations related to currency transfers to and from Iranian nationals.
The Swiss government released a statement that, “This agreement opens up new political and economic prospects with Iran, including bilateral relations,” and illustrates Switzerland’s “support for the ongoing process to implement the nuclear agreement, and its confidence in the constructive intentions of the negotiating parties.” The government further stated that it would closely monitor Iran’s implementation of the nuclear deal and that, “Should implementation of the agreement fail, the [Swiss] Federal Council reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures.”
Other Western countries have yet to lift the sanctions against Iran as they wait to verify that it is complying with the deal. United States State Department spokesman Mark Toner reiterated that U.S. sanctions remain in place and still apply to any company or country that violates the terms of the sanctions. Toner told reporters that Switzerland did not inform the United States prior to its move to drop its sanctions before Iran acted in accordance with its promises to curb its nuclear program.