The Western countries led by the United States and the European Union are preparing to lift sanctions against Iran as the controversial nuclear deal came into effect yesterday (18 October). The punitive measures have troubled the Iranian economy since 1979 when the international community first imposed sanctions on the country following the Iranian Revolution. Later, sanctions were extended in 1995 to include companies dealing with the Iranian government.
The process of lifting sanctions started 90 ago after the UN Security Council had endorsed the nuclear deal signed in Vienna in July. Although the procedure has already been ongoing, companies will still not be able to resume business relations with Iran immediately. Sanctions will in fact remain in place until Teheran significantly scales back its nuclear program. The day when the UN endorsed the agreement has been labeled “Adoption Day” while the next stage of the process is now referred to as “Implementation Day”. However, the latter will only come when the UN’s nuclear watchdog IAEA confirms that Iran has fulfilled its part of the deal, which means diluting most of its enriched nuclear fuel stocks, dismantling its centrifuges and halting a reactor capable of making plutonium.
Teheran has commented that it would start implementing the deal next week. At the same time, representatives of the United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States are meeting in Vienna today (19 October) to create a commission to supervise the implementation of the deal. US President Barrack Obama commented in an official statement that the deal was “an important milestone toward preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and ensuring its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful going forward”. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who played an instrumental role in the difficult talks between Iran and the international community, added that “if fully implemented, it will bring unprecedented insight and accountability to Iran’s nuclear program forever.”