Switzerland has agreed to partially lift economic sanctions against Iran following «positive developments» at Iranian nuclear talks in Geneva. The Swiss move is in line with a similar easing by the European Union on January 20.
The Swiss cabinet agreed to suspend until August 14, 2014 all current sanctions on the trade with Iranian state authorities in precious metals and petrochemical products, as well as the transport of crude oil or petrochemicals and reinsurance and other financial services for crude oil.
Switzerland has thus adapted its position according to the agreement reached last November in Geneva on the Iranian nuclear programme, indicated Swiss Vice-Chancellor André Simonazzi following the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
On 24 November 2013, the E3+3 group (France, Germany, Britain, Russia, China, and the United States) agreed a joint plan of action with Iran to curb its nuclear programme in return for a limited easing of sanctions that have battered its economy.
Under the six-month deal, Iran has agreed to halt its 20% enrichment program, which produces uranium just steps away from military grade, but will continue enrichment up to 5%. It also will convert half of its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to oxide, and dilute the remaining half to 5%.
In return, the US and the EU simultaneously announced the lifting of sanctions on petrochemical products, insurance, gold and other precious metals, passenger plane parts and services. They also plan to release $4.2 billion Iranian assets of oil revenues blocked overseas, in eight installments over a period of six months. The first installment of $550 million will be provided to Iran on February 1st, according to US administration officials.
Iran and the six-nation group – the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany – are expected to start talks for a comprehensive, permanent deal next month in New York, Iran’s state television reported Monday.
All other international sanctions against Iran, including those by the UN Security Council on the sale and export of weapons, remain in place.