Europe

EU to Start Lifting Sanctions against Iran on January 20

1zarif-ashtonThe European Union will begin lifting sanctions against Iran on Monday, January 20, the minute it receives word that Tehran has begun implementing the nuclear deal.Ashton-Zarif

EU foreign ministers will announce the move in Brussels as soon as inspectors from the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, confirm that the agreement started to be carried out, EU sources said Thursday.

The IAEA green light is expected in the morning and “a decision and regulation (on lifting the sanctions) will be published the same day.”

The agreement will see the United States unfreeze billions in Iranian assets while the EU notably suspends a 2012 ban on insuring and transporting Iranian crude oil that caused a more than 50 percent drop in Tehran’s oil exports.

European insurers up until then had accounted for 90 percent of coverage for deliveries of Iranian oil anywhere in the world.

The EU also will suspend bans on trade in gold, precious metals and petrochemical products while increasing a ceiling on financial transfers not related to remaining sanctions.

An EU source therefore stressed that any new contracts struck with Iranian firms should not go beyond the six-month period. “Contracts should be executed during this period,” added the source, who asked not to be identified.

“We want this to work,” the source said.

If all goes to plan, EU firms from Monday will be able to insure or transport Iranian crude oil to its six customers, China, India, Japan, Korea, Turkey and Taiwan.

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