The Swiss Government has just issued a statement welcoming the agreement reached by the E3/EU+3 (China, Russia, USA, Germany, France and the UK) and Iran on 14 July 2015, which was confirmed on 20 July 2015 by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, to resolve the nuclear dispute which 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 has today decided to lift the sanctions against Iran that had been suspended since 30 January 2014 and to adopt a new exemption clause. The amendment to the IRan Sanctions Regulation enters into effect tomorrow, on 13 August 2015. The Federal Council wishes these 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.

More specifically, 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, the threshold values for reporting and licensing obligations in relation to money transfers from and to Iranian persons were increased ten-fold (to CHF 100,000 and 500,000, respectively). These measures had already been suspended since 30 January 2014. In addition, a new exemption clause has been introduced which will enable the authorisation of steps to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2231 (2015).

Today's decision by the Federal Council, according to its statement, 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 thereby also wishes to signal to the world that Switzerland's positioning with respect to Iran, which was developed and maintained over decades, should be used to promote a broad political and economic exchange with Iran. In recent years, 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.

As soon as the nuclear 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 JCPOA, laying the foundation for complete settlement of the nuclear dispute, the EU and the USA have decided to continue the current selective suspension of sanctions against Iran. The Swiss Government 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 nuclear agreement nevertheless fail, the Federal Council reserves the right to reintroduce the lifted measures.

Coinciding with this decision, the competent Department has amended Annex 6 of the Iran Sanctions Regulation; entries concerning eight persons and organisations so far listed in Annex 6 have been removed and two entries have been modified.