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Nuclear agreement with Iran enters into force – Reaction

Media in most European countries report on the EU’s and the United States’ decision to lift economic sanctions against Iran after the UN’s international Atomic Energy Agency announced that Tehran had complied with the terms of last July’s landmark deal aimed at scaling down its nuclear programme. High Representative Vice-President for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini made the official announcement on Saturday in Vienna, telling a press conference: “As Iran has fulfilled its commitments, today, multilateral and national economic and financial sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme are lifted in accordance. This achievement clearly demonstrates that with political will, perseverance, and through multilateral diplomacy, we can solve the most difficult issues and find practical solutions that are effectively implemented”.

The inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran broke 14,000 centrifuges, while it thinned or sent abroad 98% of its stock of low-enriched uranium, which could be used to build a nuclear weapon, Greek media report. Some sanctions will however continue to be applied, such as European sanctions linked to human rights and US sanctions linked to terrorism. The Irish Times reports Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete saying that EU officials could visit Iran next month to explore possible energy links, as the EU welcomed the lifting of sanctions against the country. Most media react positively.

In an interview with FAZ, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the agreement with Iran and the country’s subsequent fulfillment of the conditions of this agreement a “historical success”. On Zeit Online, Martin Gehlen writes about a “historical day” for Middle East diplomacy. In FAZ, Johannes Pennekamp comments on the enthusiasm of the German industrial sector with regard to future business with Iran. He however cautions that the Arab region resembles a “powder keg” and that Iran is facing a conflict with Saudi Arabia.

French media report that Tehran announced an order for 114 Airbus aircraft immediately after the International Community decided to lift sanctions, thereby illustrating the major economic benefits implied by this U-turn. The amount of foreign investment needed to boost growth in Iran over the coming years is estimated at between €30bn and €50bn per annum. La Libre Belgique‘s Vincent Braun says that close monitoring of how Iran complies with the deal will help foster political stability in the region and ensure the sustainability of foreign investments. Pravda daily publishes a commentary by Marián Repa in which he writes that the end of sanctions marks the success of diplomacy. Mentioning economic benefits, Mr Repa also notes that the most important benefit will be a stable regime and an ally against Islamic State.

Helsingin Sanomat states that HRVP Federica Mogherini, who was involved in the negotiations, can now say that the European Union, which has failed in so many ways, is not entirely inefficient. NRC Next notes that the end of sanctions made the oil price drop to 30 dollar per barrel, the lowest level in 12 years. Some negative reactions can also be heard. The Wall Street Journal Europe reports that Western companies will face formidable barriers to doing business in Iran. Banks, in particular, are worried about contravening US sanctions that will remain in force.

Writing in USA Today, Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, claims that the Iran nuclear deal makes war more likely. As Iran gets its windfall, it loses incentive to comply, he says. Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his country would ensure that Tehran does not obtain nuclear weapons. US media focus on the release of four Americans held hostage by Iran in exchange for the release of seven Iranian prisoners. An editorial in The Wall Street Journal Europe notes that the White House agreed to pardon or drop charges against seven Iranian nationals charged with or convicted of crimes in the US, and agreed to drop the names of 14 Iranian nationals from an Interpol watch list.

 

©europeanunion2015

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