Berlin, Germany (nsnbc) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke out in favor of resuming normal ties and the lifting of sanctions against Iran as soon as possible. The German Chancellor, however, stopped short of commenting on Iran’s and others’ nuclear energy programs in the light of Germany’s principled anti-nuclear energy policy.
On Tuesday German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocated a unified approach to the lifting of sanctions against Iran as soon as possible.
Describing the April 2, 2015, preliminary agreement between the P5+1 and Iran as an important step, Merkel urged all parties to lift the sanctions against Iran together. That is, including the United States, the UN as well as EU member States.
While the German Chancellor described the preliminary agreement as a positive achievement, Merkel stopped short of noting that German policy makers had decided to end the use of nuclear energy in Germany altogether.
The decision came after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The decision has led to bitter disputes with e..g. Sweden which demanded “compensation” for Germany’s subsidizing of sustainable energy, describing the German move as illegal competition to Sweden’s nuclear energy.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni commented on the lifting of sanctions after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the so-called “Group of Seven” that includes Germany, Great Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United States. The meeting was held in the German city of Lübeck on Wednesday.
Paolo Gentiloni noted that it was normal that many countries were in a race to reestablish contacts and contracts with Tehran after the lifting of sanctions. He added, however, that first a final agreement must be reached.
Russia ended a self-imposed moratorium on the export of S-300 missile systems, stressing that the S-300 system was a purely defensive system and thus not in violation of any UN sanctions. Meanwhile, international clients line up for Moscow’s S-400 system so Moscow is, most likely, happy to fulfill its S-300 contract.
One of the major points of disagreement that remains is that Tehran opposes the installment of camera systems at the Arak heavy water reactor. Experts stress that a heavy water reactor does not have to be shut down to change fuel assemblies, thus making it difficult for IAEA inspectors to monitor whether the reactor is being use to produce plutonium “off the records”.
A deadline for reaching a final agreement has been set for June 30, 2015. On April 9, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani noted that Iran will sign a final deal once all sanctions have been lifted.Martin Sevior, Associate Professor of Physics at Melbourne University detailed in an article entitled“Uranium, plutonium, heavy water … why Iran’s nuclear deal matters” why the heavy water reactor in Arak was a special point of contention.
Analysts generally agree that all of the involved sides are interested in lifting the sanctions and reaching an agreement, and that the June 30 deadline shouldn’t be taken all too serious.
As in all complex multilateral negotiations, each of the involved countries has own priorities and objectives involving bilateral contracts, geopolitical factors as well as economic factors tied to the oil price which is likely to dip even further once Iranian oil export goes online in full capacity again.
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