A Year Later, West Hails Iran Deal

A Year Later, West Hails Iran DealA Year Later, West Hails Iran Deal

Top officials from some western states that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, heaped praise on the landmark agreement on Thursday, which marked one year since its conclusion.

US President Barack Obama issued a statement, saying both sides have completely abided by their commitments under the accord, which subjected Tehran to time-bound constraints in return for relief from international sanctions.

"During the past year, Iran has implemented its nuclear-related commitments, as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency," the statement said, referring to the task the Vienna-based agency has been assigned to monitor Iran's compliance.

Obama pointed to the specific curbs placed on Tehran's nuclear program and said Iran has shipped out 98% of its enriched uranium, dismantled two-thirds of its centrifuges, filled its plutonium production reactor with concrete and adopted the most intrusive inspection and verification program ever negotiated for a nuclear program.

"The United States and our negotiating partners have also fully implemented our commitments to lift nuclear-related sanctions, and we will continue to uphold our commitments as long as Iran continues to abide by the deal," he said.

The other four permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany accompanied the US in about two years of negotiations leading to the accord.

"We still have serious differences with Iran, but the United States, our partners, and the world are more secure because of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the official name of the nuclear accord]," Obama said in the statement, carried by the White House website.

  Workability of Diplomacy

EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said in a statement that the action plan testifies to the efficiency and workability of diplomacy and dialogue in finding ways to address the toughest global challenges.

"One year after the conclusion of the landmark deal on Iran's nuclear program agreed in Vienna, the European Union is pleased to note that the JCPOA is being implemented. This demonstrates that with political will, perseverance and multilateral diplomacy, workable solutions can be found to the most difficult problems," she said.

"The European Union will continue to actively support the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA throughout the lifetime of the agreement, as well as the UNSC Resolution 2231," which was adopted on July 20, 2015, to endorse the JCPOA and terminate all the UN sanctions, she said.

EU's top diplomat stressed the importance of full adherence of all parties to the accord to promote reconciliation and better understanding between the two sides.

"The upholding of commitments by all sides is a necessary condition to rebuild trust and allow for steady and gradual improvement in relations between the European Union, its member states and Iran," she said.

  Tehran's Frustration

Tehran is frustrated that few trade deals have been implemented since the nuclear-related sanctions were lifted in January, as foreign banks and investors still shy away from Iran's market due to the intact US sanctions imposed over non-nuclear allegations.

They include a ban on processing Tehran-linked transactions through the US financial system.

Iran has called on the United States government to do more to ease the concerns and has sought European leverage to put pressure on Washington's policy and decision makers.

"It is in the interest of the European Union that the lifting of economic and financial nuclear-related sanctions delivers benefits to the Iranian people," Mogherini said in the statement posted on the website of the European External Action Service.

"The European Union acknowledges that clarity regarding the lifting of sanctions is key to allow a full reengagement of European banks and businesses in Iran," she said.

"In this context, it notes the extensive guidance that was provided on the scope of sanctions lifted and those that remain in place. The EU is committed to continue actively engaging with the private sector and encourages all parties to the JCPOA to continue their outreach efforts in this regard."

The top diplomat also called for reforms in the Iranian economy to better appeal to overseas firms and pledged her side's assistance in this regard.      

"For Iran to fully benefit from the lifting of sanctions, it is also important that it overcomes obstacles related to economic and fiscal policy, business environment and rule of law," she said.

"The European Union and its member states stand ready to cooperate with Iran in these areas and to provide technical assistance, including on compliance with FATF requirements, and to consider the use of export credits to facilitate trade, project financing, and investment."

  Dispelled Misgivings  

US Secretary of State John Kerry said the action plan has proved a success despite initial skepticism raised by many officials.

"As of today, one year later, the program that so many people said will not work, a program that people said is absolutely doomed to see cheating and be broken and will make the world more dangerous has, in fact, made the world safer, lived up to its expectations and thus far, produced an ability to be able to create a peaceful nuclear program with Iran living up to its part of this bargain and obligation," Kerry said in Paris.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also hailed the deal, saying it "reminds us of the historic diplomatic breakthrough in Vienna that has made the world a safer place and is bringing real benefits to the people of Iran".

"Britain will continue to work with international partners to complete implementation of the deal and to ensure its benefits are realized in full," said the recently appointed top UK diplomat.