Lifting of Previously Suspended Sanctions Against Iran

August 12, 2015

Bern, 12.08.2015 - The Federal Council welcomes the agreement reached by the E3/EU+3 (China, Russia, USA, Germany, France and the UK) and Iran to resolve the nuclear dispute. This agreement opens up new political and economic prospects with Iran, including bilateral relations. Given this important turning point in the 12-year nuclear dispute, the Federal Council decided on 12 August to lift the sanctions against Iran that had been suspended since January 2014 and to issue a new exemption clause. The amendment to the corresponding ordinance comes into effect on 13 August. The Federal Council wishes today’s steps to be seen as a sign of its support for the implementation of the nuclear agreement and its interest in deepening bilateral relations with Iran.

At its meeting on 12 August, the Federal Council decided to lift the ban on precious metals transactions with Iranian state bodies, as well as the requirement to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products. It also lifted the requirement to report the transport of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products as well as insurance and reinsurance policies taken out in relation to such transactions. In the financial sector, threshold values for reporting and licensing obligations in relation to money transfers from and to Iranian nationals were increased ten-fold. These measures had already been suspended since 30 January 2014. In addition, a new exemption clause will be introduced which will enable moves to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2231 to be authorised. The Ordinance on Measures regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran will therefore be amended.

Today's decision by the Federal Council underlines its support for the ongoing process to implement the nuclear agreement, and its confidence in the constructive intentions of the negotiating parties. The Federal Council also wishes to signal that Switzerland's positioning with respect to Iran, which was developed and maintained over a number of years, should be used to promote a broad political and economic exchange with Iran. In recent decades, Switzerland has pursued a consistent, neutral and balanced policy with regard to Iran. In part due to its protecting power mandate for the USA, it has always been committed to dialogue and to keeping communication channels open. At the same time, Switzerland has always defended its own values and views. Today Switzerland is perceived in Iran as a reliable and credible discussion partner.

On 14 July, the E3/EU+3 and Iran adopted a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which provides for a comprehensive range of measures to be taken by Iran to limit and control its nuclear programme and roll back UN, EU and US sanctions against Iran. This agreement, which was confirmed on 20 July by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, lays the foundation for complete settlement of the nuclear dispute. As soon as the agreement comes into effect and Iran complies with its obligations, most of the international sanctions will be lifted on the day of implementation.

Following the agreement, the EU and the USA have decided to continue the current selective suspension of measures. The Federal Council will monitor implementation of the JCPOA and adapt Swiss measures accordingly. The vast majority of international sanctions against Iran, including all of the sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council, will remain in force for the time being. Should implementation of the agreement fail, the Federal Council reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures.

Coinciding with the Federal Council Decree of 12 August, the EAER amended Annex 6 of the same Ordinance; entries concerning eight persons and organisations listed in Annex 6 have been removed and two entries modified.