Iran, US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China have concluded, after prolonged negotiations led by Federica Mogherini, EU’s foreign policy chief, an agreement that will lift sanctions on Iran and place strict limits on its nuclear programme for more than a decade.
By the deal, which was unveiled in a “5+1” summit held in Vienna Yesterday, Iran will step-by-step dismantle much of its nuclear infrastructure while the UN, US and EU will take down the sanctions built over Iran from 2007 on. In a nutshell, Iran will reduce its enrichment capacity by two-thirds, will reduce by the 96% its low enriched uranium stockpile and will allow UN inspectors to enter sites, also military in nature. Sanctions on Oil & Gas are supposed to be lifted in the next months and Iran oil will then flood the market. Embargo on military equipment will be still in force for the next five years, and eight years in the case of ballistic missile technology. Embargo on equipment for the nuclear industry is not, at this stage, supposed to be lifted.
The lifting of sanctions is reversible. If there are allegations that Iran has not met its obligations under the agreement, a joint commission will seek to resolve the dispute for 30 days. If effort fails, the UN security council will call up to vote to continue sanctions relief and a veto by a permanent member will reimpose sanctions.
The agreement is still to be ratified by the US Congress and the Iranian legislative body (the Majlis) and, to be effective, will have to be then implemented through legislative instruments by UN, EU and US. There is still a long way to go to benefit from this agreement but it seems to be a concrete first step towards a revolutionary change in the relationships with Iran.