Iranian sanctions: The process of untangling one of the world’s most complex structure of sanctions began today after the UN nuclear agency yesterday certified that Tehran had met all of its commitments under last summer’s landmark nuclear deal, unlocking access to tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets and unleashing new opportunities for its battered economy.
The European Union will now terminate all its nuclear-related economic sanctions including an embargo on buying Iranian crude oil, but, more importantly, ends restrictions on Iranian trade, shipping and insurance. Besides removing sanctions on entire sectors such as banking and insurance, Iranian entities or individuals who were blacklisted because of their alleged nuclear-related activities can now do business with the EU. Those on the terrorism sanctions list, however, will still be excluded.
“This is a day we have been waiting for for years,” said the managing director of the German-Iranian chamber of commerce Michael Tockuss. “There will be big changes.We will get some 300 Iranian individuals and companies off the (EU) sanctions list. Up to now, we couldn’t do a single business transaction with them, not even selling them bread or biscuits.”
The United States will also no longer apply its crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, especially on the banking sector, although a full annulment of those restrictions would in some cases require approval by the Republican-dominated US Congress – which is why President Obama opted for issuing “waiver orders” for these sanctions.
Like the EU, the US will retain sanctions on entities accused of sponsoring terrorism such as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or those allegedly linked to it.
While the actual impact of the lifting of sanctions will unfold in the coming weeks and months, here is a list of predictions compiled by the BBC:
– Sanctions have added 15% to the cost of trading with Iran and lifting them will save the country some $15bn yearly in cheaper trade, says Iran’s first Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri.
– At current prices, the lifting of energy sanctions means Iran could increase its revenue from oil exports by $10bn by next year
– Iran’s central bank says lifting banking sanctions will allow $30bn of foreign reserves currently frozen in accounts around the world to be brought back – the US Treasury says the figure is $50bn
– With sanctions gone Iran could boost its GDP growth to around 5% in 2016-17, from almost zero currently, says the International Monetary Fund