The European Union and the United States have agreed to relax most sanctions on Iran in exchange for the recent deal on the country’s nuclear program. The deal, which was hailed by leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, includes a 15-year freeze on uranium enrichment and full access for UN inspectors.
Barack Obama hailed the deal in a speech that was broadcast live on Iranian TV. “Today, the United States – together with our allies and partners – has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon”, Obama said and added that “in return for Iran’s actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions”. The announcement was greeted by great parties in the streets of Teheran, where people have been experiencing international isolation for more than thirty years.
Most of EU members have likewise embraced the deal. Germany’s Angela Merkel said that the agreement was “a huge achievement for all negotiators” and French President, Francois Hollande, has also hailed the deal but emphasized that “sanctions can be re-imposed if the agreement is not implemented”.
Yet, not everyone is happy with the deal and lifting of the sanctions. While Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, welcomed the deal, many others agree that Iran’s effort to have their sanctions lifted demonstrates that the West’s punitive measures really work and can have a profound effect on an economy. Among the least happy about the deal are Saudi Arabia and Israel. For Saudi Arabia, Iran is a regional competitor with whom the kingdom is fighting a proxy war. For Israel, “the deal poses a great danger threatening its survival,” as the country’s PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, commented on his Facebook page.