Sunset of Sanctions

Sunset of SanctionsSunset of Sanctions

The historic nuclear deal with major powers was to come into force on Saturday and trigger the lifting of international sanctions, after confirmation by the UN nuclear agency that Tehran has kept its promises under the accord.

A statement was to be read out in Vienna by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to announce the Implementation Day.

The statement was pending the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is in charge of verifying Tehran’s commitment to the terms of the agreement (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

Zarif talked separately with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Mogherini, IRNA reported.       

Iran had promised under the action plan to temporarily curtail its nuclear program in return for relief from the United Nations, European Union and US sanctions.

Days after the JCPOA was finalized between Iran and P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), the council adopted Resolution 2231 to endorse the deal and terminate all its previous resolutions passed against Iran between 2006 and 2010.

The council was to issue a statement to announce the resolution is now in place.

Separate statements were expected from the US and the European Union to announce the removal and suspension of their sanctions respectively.

EU sanctions pertained to the following: financial transfers; banking; insurance and reinsurance; the SWIFT system; trade financing; oil, gas, petroleum and petrochemical products and related technology; naval equipment and technology; design and construction of cargo vessels and oil tankers; access to EU airports; trade in gold, diamonds and precious metals, and other areas.

The US was to cease the application of its unilateral sanctions.

In practice, this means lifting the restrictions that now prevent non-US companies, entities and individuals from engaging in a wide array of transactions with Iran.

For the most part, restrictions on US actors would remain in place, Reuters reported.

The most dramatic US sanctions to be eased were those that had prevented non-US actors from buying oil from Iran, except in very limited circumstances, or from investing in its petroleum sector.

Among other things, non-US actors would largely be able to carry out transactions involving the Iranian rial; provide US banknotes to the Iranian government; release Iranian oil-sale revenues held abroad; issue Iranian sovereign debt; provide insurance underwriting; trade precious metals; sell goods and services to Iran’s auto sector; and undertake many financial and banking dealings.

Most US sanctions involving US actors would remain in place. So, while non-US banks may trade with Iran, US banks may not do so directly or indirectly.

However, the US government committed to allow companies, including US actors, to seek licenses to sell commercial aircraft and spare parts to Iran and to license imports of Iranian carpets, caviar, pistachios and other food stuffs into the United States.